News Briefs: NBC Is Rebooting Murder, She Wrote, With Octavia Spencer in the Lead Role

TONIGHT WE'LL SOLVE THE CASE OF WHO KILLED NBC

Someone send an ambulance to NBC stat because that network is really, really struggling to hold on. In a desperate last-ditch effort, the network is resurrecting Murder, She Wrote, which starred Angela Lansbury and ran on CBS from 1984 to 1996. Octavia Spencer (The Help) will play the lead role, and David Janollari and Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives) will executive-produce. [Variety]


BUSINESS TIME

... I'm really into what The CW is putting out these days, and I'm weirdly excited about the network's newest puchase. Titled Players, it's set in 1930s Hollywood and follows a Midwestern gal who moves to Los Angeles to avenge her sister's murder at the hands of a studio executive. But wait, there's more! Once in L.A., she is "swept up" by the Hollywood star-making machine, gets involved with a closeted movie star, AND becomes a pawn in a scheme with the mob. It's like four shows in one, and it sounds insane. Where do I sign up? [Deadline]

... When The Cleveland Show wasn't renewed we knew it was only a matter of time before the its characters returned to Family Guy (that'll show Fox!). In the episode "He's Bla-ack," set to air this spring, Cleveland and his family move back to Quahog, where they'll face plenty of "you couldn't hack it out on your own" jokes. [EW]

... TNT has ordered eight one-hour episodes of a new reality series starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Tentatively titled Wake Up Call, the show will follow Johnson as he makes 4am wake up calls to people facing enormous challenges in their lives. Personally, I find waking up at 4am to be an enormous challenge, which is why I usually roll out of bed sometime around 8:45am and smash my head on the keyboard for a few hours. [TNT via press release]

... Several cast members from Arrested Development will appear on Inside the Actors Studio on Thursday, November 7. Tune in for serious questions with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, and creator Mitch Hurwitz. [Bravo via press release]

... Matt Smith and David Tennant apparently hatched a plan during the filming of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special that would have allowed both of them to continue being the Doctor for several more episodes (five episodes each and then three together). Showrunner Steven Moffat said no because he hates happiness, and now the internet has an entirely new reason to hate him. [Radio Times]

... And as long as I'm already talking about things that air on BBC America, the network will premiere the new series Atlantis after the encore presentation of "The Day of the Doctor" on November 23. The series, from the creators of Merlin and Misfits, follows the adventures of Jack Donnelly's Jason as he searches for his father. His trip takes him on an unexpected adventure to the fabled city of Atlantis, where he encounters legendary heroes and dangerous creatures. The series premieres at 9pm, and Game of Thrones' Mark Addy stars as an overweight, overly confident Hercules, so be sure to set your DVRs. [BBC America via press release]

... Glee won't officially end until spring 2015 (sigh), but Naya Rivera is pitching a Glee spin-off following her character Santana Lopez. Would you watch it? [E! Online]


CASTING NEWS

... Kathryn Hahn has reunited with Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott for the third installment of The Greatest Even in Television History. We still don't know what series they're taking on this time, but we do know it's a sitcom, and not a one-hour drama. The next installment drops November 7 at midnight on Adult Swim. Leave your guesses in the comments! [Vulture]

... Man, The Crazy Ones really loves its guest stars. This time the show has booked supermodel Adriana Lima for a bit part. She'll play herself in the December 5 episode. [E! Online]

... Fringe alum Kirk Acevedo is guest-starring as the brother of Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) on Blue Bloods. The character is being described as a longtime criminal, and will appear in the November 22 episode. [Zap2It]

... Without a Trace alum Marianne Jean-Baptiste has landed a recurring role on NBC's midseason drama Believe, from Alfonso Cuaron and J.J. Abrams. The series centers on a young woman named Bo with a special gift, and the relationship that develops with her father Tate after he escapes from prison and is tasked with protecting her from the evil people who want to steal her power. Jean-Baptiste will play CIA Deputy Director Brandice Comstock, who's aligned with the show's villain, played by Kyle MacLachlan. Ummmmm, okay. [TV Guide]


AND NOW FOR SOME SERIOUS JOURNALISM

... Jon Hamm shaves three times a day. [NY Mag]


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Oct 31, 2013
Steven Moffat has been one of my favorite people in TV for over a decade way before Who but how could he keep away more of my Matt and David? The 1st and 3rd best Doctors! #2 is Pertwee- check him out! Anyway, he did poorly on season 7 (except the Snowmen) and I hope he turns it around because I am only giving him the benefit of the doubt with this new Doctor.
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Oct 26, 2013
TNT has ordered eight one-hour episodes of a new reality series starring Dwayne "The Rock"

I guess that means THE hero will NOT have season 2. It was a really good reality series. I liked it so much I think I will watched this one too. I am not really a fan of THE Rock for his movies but I am for him as a reality host !
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Oct 26, 2013
FAWWWWWWWK YOU STEVEN MOFFAT! Yeah, it's not the same ol' thing, but should that really be what Doctor Who is about, the status quo? Granted, you'd not know what with your awful Hollywoodization ruining the originality and cleverness of the 11th Doctor's run, but still, c'mon, that would have been awesome on a plate with bangers and mash!

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Oct 26, 2013
Because Murder She Wrote is a brand you can really say "hey, I would like to watch a modern version of that" to without smirking and laughing at the idea of old people suffering the same episode over and over, great plan NBC. Also Octavia Spencer really is the one we all want to watch solve crimes. Home fucking run to the peacock network once again. It seems to me that NBC isn't being murdered, it's committing suicide... very slowly and publicly.

Players sounds suspiciously like the Philip Marlowe novel "The Little Sister", minus Philip Marlowe. How ironic would it be if Hollywood were to take a story lambasting Hollywood and gut it, living up to the notion of Hollywood being awful? How ironic would it be if they utterly failed to understand that?

The link to Jon Hamm shaving 3 times a day is blank, doesn't work. Also, eww.
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Oct 26, 2013
PS - "Murder, She Tweeted"? "Murder, She Instagrammed"? Oh, I know, "Murder, She Vlogged" because the show is for old people who are the only ones who still would bother with a video blog - if they're trying to skew younger, maybe "Murder, She Vined".
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Oct 26, 2013
Oh dear Lord, the news just keeps getting worse.
Jack Donnelly just announced that Atlantis has been renewed for a second season
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Oct 26, 2013
Wow. First Octavia Spencer as a modern-era Jessica Fletcher. And now talks abut rebooting Charmed... I realize that fresh ideas are a dime-a-dozen these days in Hollywood. Oh, wait. They're not.

I loved MSW when it was on the air. Like Columbo & Ellery Queen, it was fun playing detective along with the protagonist. And while I can understand rebooting a successful show like Murder, She Wrote into the modern times, casting a young (well, younger than Jessica Fletcher, anyways), black lead is counter to what the show was [originally] all about which, if you have fans from the original, will be tough to bring those fans to the new show. Granted, you can change the dynamics of a/the show and still keep the mechanics of the show alive. Still, while a strong actress, Octavia Spencer seems to be an odd choice for MSW. Granted, she can give off a likeable, unassuming, non-threatening vibe, which is great for a cozy mystery. It'll just be hard by fans to make the transition from what MSW is [strongly] remembered as to this new imagining of MSW.

Maybe Kathy Bates, Hellen Mirren, or even Catherine O'Hara in the role???
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Oct 26, 2013
Really, Seth McFarlane? Of all the Family Guy characters, you decided to spinoff Cleveland? I don't know how it made it to 4 seasons.
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Oct 26, 2013
Does anyone confuse Kathryn Hahn with Ana Gasteyer?

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Oct 26, 2013
I don't, but I see how you could.
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Oct 26, 2013
Will this be a full reboot of Murder She Wrote? Or will it be like 90210 or Girl Meets World, a continuation of old characters mixed with new descendants of those characters?

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Oct 25, 2013
I didn't realize that Fred Silverman had come back to NBC. Who could forget his greatest success? Supertrain! What a success that was!
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Oct 26, 2013
Don't forget Hello Larry, Pink Lady and Jeff, and the post-Lorne Michaels-era SNL debacles. Then again, were it not for Fred Silverman, Al Franken probably wouldn't be serving in the senate today.
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Oct 25, 2013
Maybe they can reboot Hart to Hart, starring Kevin Hart....
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Oct 25, 2013
and Melissa Joan Hart???
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Oct 26, 2013
Don't provoke Melissa, she'll probably find a way to put Joey Lawrence in the cast as well.
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Oct 25, 2013
so CBS' plan to reboot Charmed is all good but NBC's plans to reboot Murder, She Wrote is all bad ?
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Oct 26, 2013
No, both are bad.
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Oct 25, 2013
Will it have the same gaping plot holes as the original series, such as how a small town in Maine has a higher murder rate that the rest of the world or how the cops continually ignore the advice of woman who always finds the real murderer?
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Oct 29, 2013
someone said it was amazing they never figured out that Jessica was really a serial killer who cleverly framed other people every week or so...
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Oct 29, 2013
wwwwwait a sec! that should be the basis for the new version!!!!! I'd watch THAT show!

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Dec 28, 2013
yea, it could be like Dexter. the main character is a serial killer who frames people for murders she commits, she "investigates", & uses the evidence she plants to point the finger at the person
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Oct 25, 2013
Why not just make an original show and give Octavia the lead?
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Oct 26, 2013
Riskier to create a new brand than exploit an existing one, and networks don't have vision and passion anymore so they're all about risk-avoidance instead of creation and nurturing of quality.
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Oct 26, 2013
Exactly.
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Oct 25, 2013
Hey NBC -- since you have so much money (to burn), bring back "A Different World". But this time, Dwayne Wayne is professor of Hillman College, and the university is home to super-powered, misunderstood (and photogenic, of course) African-American students. Oh, the layers---
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Oct 26, 2013
Will he still have the shades?
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Oct 27, 2013
But, of course -- The shades are Google Glass-like, and allows the wearer to see into alternate universes (such as the one where Denise Huxtable left Hillman to take up with Mickey Rourke and frolic in chicken blood--)
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Oct 26, 2013
Will he still have Whitley?
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Oct 27, 2013
Unfortunately not. Whitley has severed ties with Dwayne and has formed an evil sisterhood of superpowered (and photogenic, of course) African-American debutantes.
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Oct 27, 2013
Then I'm watching!
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Oct 25, 2013
Murder, She Wrote remake? Srsly? I know there is no sense in compalining, 'cuz they'll make it one way or another, but... but... Gah!
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Oct 25, 2013
NBC: Nuthin' But Crap!

Remember NBC execs, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again.
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Oct 25, 2013
So they've got Ruby from The Chronicle to play Jessica? Cool, I always liked Octavia on that. Has she done anything else since?
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Oct 25, 2013
Murder She Wrote? More like "Murdered by NBC"
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Oct 25, 2013
Too late to revise my death watch to preemptively add "Murder She Wrote"???

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Oct 25, 2013
Murder she wrote? Puhleeeeeeeze, let's just reboot Magnum PI starring Blair Underwood or Jerry O'Connell because once again they're both looking for work!
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Oct 26, 2013
I'd watch the shit out of that.
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Oct 25, 2013
So so so so stupid.
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Oct 25, 2013
I don't care about any of the oter news provided...All I have to say, is:

The less I have to read about, hear about and/or see, of the abomination and pox on television viewing commonly known as 'Glee', the better I am for it!

As a side note, and because I just want to stir up some angst:

Kiefer Sutherland should have been cast as Raymond 'Red' Reddington, in The Blacklist, instead.

The end.
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Oct 26, 2013
"Kiefer Sutherland should have been cast as Raymond 'Red' Reddington, in The Blacklist, instead."


I love that you said that. Always nice to see a difference in opinion. Kiefer was the first choice and he passed with it ultimately going to Jimmy.

I think that so far Spader has shown himself to be better suited to playing the character. As much as I like Kiefer (seriously, one of my favorite actors along with Mr. Spader) he doesn't have quite the smarmy, dual sided nature that Spader is naturally known for playing. SPADER KEEPS YOU GUESSING; i'll watch anything with Spader in it, he's like Kevin Spacey. Keifer is known now for playing heroes, although yes he can play bad guys as well (He made that clear in Phone Booth).

I think the big question really is why Spader wasn't considered before Kiefer? I guess Spader's name hasn't been as hot for awhile as Kiefer's has. But I would say Spader has the better resume. Another big question to me is why is it that as great as both of these actors are they're hardly ever in movies? You would think they would be in high demand at the box office. (not that i don't want to see them on television as well, I just almost feel as if they're wasting their talent by not doing more movies).
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Oct 25, 2013
Nope. James Spader has done an excellent job. His snarkiness makes the role. Kiefer would be good as well, but the work Spader is doing is very good.
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Oct 26, 2013
Exactly. We know Kiefer can play a bad guy but can he be charismatic?
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Oct 25, 2013
I though that NBC had learned the lesson with Ironside! Murder She Wrote, another classic to be destroyed.
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Oct 25, 2013
I'll give Jon Hamm a shave. :)

Did I say that out loud? Too bad this contraption doesn't have some sort of button that could erase what I've typed. Oh well.
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Oct 25, 2013
NBC is now into the new Blacksplitation. Old shows that formerly had white actors are now using black actors in the same roles. It's not the actors who are being exploited, it's the audience. The new Murder She Wrote is probably going to have the same success as Ironside.

I think Moffat canned the idea of two Doctors for multiple episodes partially because of budget but mostly because it would be hard to follow up on any further ideas. And it's dangerous to encourage old Doctors to return. We don't need to feed Tom Baker's Doctor addiction.

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Oct 25, 2013
The Jon Hamm news is the best. LOL
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Oct 25, 2013
The CW-show sound interesting. A Glee spin off with Santana would work if they include Rachel and Kurt.
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Oct 25, 2013
That idea of 2 old doctors coming back for a full season cannot possibly be serious. If that would have been announced as a reality, we would all be in flames and stating that Moffat has run out of ideas and is desperate for saving Doctor Who or something. Let's hope that they are both still available for specials, because that is always fun to have. But come on, DW needs to move on.
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Oct 25, 2013
Moffat. Is. The Worst.

Seriously.
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Oct 26, 2013
More thumbs!
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Oct 25, 2013
Sorry NBC, but there's no need for this re-boot. since we already have CASTLE, the mentalist and such shows like these currently on air.
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Oct 25, 2013
They should have spun the New York storyline on Glee to begin with. I made t-shirts with "Manhattan Follies" on them, they're useless now. Le sigh.
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Oct 25, 2013
Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer is going to be a complete train wreck! What the hell are they smoking over at NBC?
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Oct 26, 2013
I think they aren't smoking enough of it, that might be the problem.
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Oct 25, 2013
Jon Hamm has issues. Though not as many as NBC whose executives, in their infinite wisdom, decided NOT to learn from the f-ups of Prime Suspect & Ironside and are re-booting another old show. Seriously? These guys must be gunning to get fired
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Oct 25, 2013
Word of advice: Stay the heck away from Atlantis.
Merling had its up and downs, but Atlantis is constantly going down.
4 episodes and I'm already falling asleep.
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Oct 25, 2013
You lasted 4 whole episodes?
I'm not sure weather to admire your fortitude or pity your inability to change the channel
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Oct 25, 2013
- Players actually sounds interesting! It will of course be CW-fied which means it'll be more Gossip Girl meets Revenge than Mulholland Dr., but the premise sounds like it could be pretty entertaining.

- I will watch a spin-off of Glee with Naya if it'll be either about Santana as a crack addict, single mother of five children who never made it in the entertainment business, or a cryogenically frozen Santana who is woken up in the future to battle an alien invasion as the last hope for humanity. Both shows would include elaborate singing and dancing numbers, naturally. Does anyone know the telephone number for Ryan Murphy? I accidentally deleted mine.
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Oct 25, 2013
Murder, She Wrote will be canceled in 4 or less episodes. Didn't they learn their lesson with Charlie's Angels and Ironside?
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Oct 25, 2013
I'll give 'Murder, She Wrote' a try. I like Octavia Spencer as an actress. There are far worse actresses that could have been cast.
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Oct 25, 2013
Murder she wrote.. reboot... is it going to work? in theory yes, in reality not so sure.. Why? we have already Castle, the Mentalist, Elementary, Bones, all kinds of whodunit with a light tough and a bit of levity. How many shows can we fit in? Now, that being said, I'll give it a try since Octavia has a very distinctive on screen personality, it would be interesting to see her take and spin as the lead character.
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Oct 25, 2013
I semi agree, Murder She Wrote was exceptional because it always had the clue to finding the killer inside the episode itself. Where as the rest of the shows you mentioned don't actually flat out show you the clue.

Personally? I think it could work, or it could have worked if they hadn't insisted on making it a reboot. Why not just make an entirely new show? The comparison to the old one is going to kill them.
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Oct 25, 2013
Was the clue really on the episode? It's been a (long) while, but what I remember was exactly the opposite: the murderer being totally random, depending on the different red herrings thrown. The fact of using an element of the story as a revealing clue doesn't really work if there are tones of information that you don't have that go with that clue.

I think if it works or not would entirely depend on how much effort they put in making this, because clearly people are very much into detective procedural these days.
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Oct 25, 2013
Calling it: remake of Matlock starring Ken Jeong.
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Oct 25, 2013
Sounds Changtastic
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Oct 25, 2013
Now THAT is something I'd check out! It would be so bizarre it just might be excellent!
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Oct 25, 2013
I would find it a bit weird to follow Santana around but... I can't say that I am not down for it.... because assuredly there will be a TON of those famous and funny Santana Lopez one-liners in there that we all love so much :)
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Oct 25, 2013
The Space channel in Canada starting airing Atlantis a couple weeks ago. It's decent so far, very reminiscent of the SInbad show from last year in tone and scope and such. Seen 3 episodes so far (2 the first night) and I'm going to keep watching it.
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Oct 25, 2013
The one thing worse then taking old shows and bringing them back with young hot leads (Night Stalker, Tomorrow People).

Taking old shows and bringing them back with a minority in the lead role (Kojak, Ironside, Murder She Wrote).

Next up, remakes of Remington Steele, Cannon, and The Rockford Files.
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Oct 25, 2013
David Shore (House) tried The Rockford Files awhile ago for guess who...NBC!
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Oct 25, 2013
Although Will Smith as Jim Rockford could work. But they would never get him for the role.

Cannon would probably be the most likely because it would allow for a bad-ass character.
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Oct 25, 2013
I was too young to care for Murder, She Wrote since I was born in 1987... but I really don't have any interest in it even though I do like Octavia Spencer. just further proof NBC has no ideas left.

That CW show sounds alright, I'll watch it if I like the cast.

I think the Doctor should go back in time and somehow alter it so Tennant and Smith are both the Doctor forever and ever and ever etc.

I would watch a Glee spin-off, I've been pitching my own idea to the internet which does not listen.. but it's about Sam and Blaine both move to New York and we only focus on the New York storylines because the Ohio ones are CRAAAP.
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Oct 25, 2013
OH FFS @NBC - Somebody take those mindless unimaginative drones who call themselves TV EXECS and execute them…painfully before they trash any more classic shows.
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Oct 25, 2013
Imagine if the CW got to make the Murder She Wrote reboot. They'd get a hot, sassy female lead, two boytoys for her to solve murders with and they'd be calling it The Murder Diaries.
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Staff
Oct 25, 2013
I hate myself, but I now wish that was the case.
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Oct 25, 2013
I miss the days of Veronica Mars.
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Oct 25, 2013
Cleveland's cancelled, American Dad's cancelled, Dads is going to be cancelled, The Flintstones project got stopped...Seth MacFarlene's plan of taking over television one hacky show (well, American Dad was alright...and it's moving to basic cable) at a time is finally getting foiled.
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Oct 25, 2013
I love Angela Lansbury, she is the best. I don't think O. Spencer can do anything similar to what she did in "Murder...", so I think they really should let the memories alone.
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Oct 25, 2013
I wish real Murder She Wrote was still around. Or that Angela Lansbury was my grandma, either way!
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Staff
Oct 25, 2013
Both. BOTH.
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Oct 25, 2013
No not both! Everyone that got near Jessica Fletcher died horribly! If you're going to combine, you take Mrs. Potts for a grandmother.
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Oct 25, 2013
She had a couple nieces and nephews who came on the show and lived! STOP CRUSHING MY DREAMS!
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Oct 25, 2013
Sorry about that. I just figured it would be kind of awesome to grow up with a talking teapot for a grandmother, with that little wuss Chip to blame all my late night castle shenanigans on.

Plenty of Lansbury to go around.
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Oct 25, 2013
I think a Glee spinoff with Naya Rivera could work. I'd watch it anyway.
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