More Reboots: CBS Bringing Back ‘Magnum P.I.,’ ‘Murphy Brown’
CBS is digging into its archives to bring back new versions of two classic shows, ‘Magnum P.I.’ and ‘Murphy Brown’ this fall.
Magnum P.I. will be roaring across Hawaii in the red Ferarri once again and Murphy Brown and company are returning to the anchor desk.
CBS confirmed this week the rumored reboots of both shows are headed to the fall schedule.
I suppose it was inevitable that with reboots of Will & Grace on NBC and Roseanne on ABC (and particularly the wild popularity of the latter), more would be on the way.
Magnum P.I. is an updated version of the original, Magnum, P.I., which ran from 1980 until 1988. Somwehere along the way, the title apparently lost its comma.
This time around, the title character will be portrayed by Jay Hernandez, formerly of Scandal. Tom Selleck, who was TV’s original Thomas Magnum, still stars as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in Blue Bloods. The premise of the original was that novelist Robin Masters, who was never seen on the show, invited his friend, Magnum, to stay at his estate, “Robin’s Nest,” much to the chagrin of estate caretaker Jonathan Quayle Higgins, who was portrayed by the late John Hillerman.
The new version casts British actress Perdita Weeks in the Higgins role.
The new version also shifts Magnum from a Vietnam War veteran to an Iraq War veteran and former Navy SEAL.
Besides the gender of Higgins, what’s most different about this new version is the new Magnum won’t have Selleck’s trademark bushy mustache, a trait considered a trademark of the character.
Candice Bergen is returning as Murphy Brown a former network news anchor of a program called FYI. Most of the cast is returning for the reboot. The original series, incidentally, aired form 1988 until 1998.
But when we rejoin our hero, she’s now hosting a cable morning show called Murphy in the Morning. While doing so, she’s competing against her own son, who hosts a morning show on a rival, conservative cable channel.
During the original series, when Brown had her son, Avery, out of wedlock, it stirred a bit of controversy. TDan Quayle referred to the character on May 19, 1992, criticizing her for “mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone.”
Three other reboots returning next season
CBS apparently believes everything old should be new again because these two new reboots join three other previous reboots.
Hawaii Five-0 returns for its ninth season. It was a reboot of the original Hawaii Five-0, which ran from 1968 until 1980.
MacGyver returns for its third season. It was a reboot of an ABC series that aired from 1985 until 1992.
And then there’s S.W.A.T., which returns for its second season. Its original version also aired on ABC, from 1975 to 1976.
One might wonder whether we’re truly running out of ideas. But on the other hand, a reboot might help give a new show a better head-start, since the characters and the setup (to a degree) is already known to the audience. A show can therefore spend less time setting up all the backstory and more time accentuating what’s different about the new show.
So there’s both a sense of nostalgia and the potential for some surprises along the way.
Given how little time new shows have to make an impression and grow an audience, the curiosity factor might give these shows an advantage over original ideas.
Still, there are some shows I wish they’d leave alone.