Tube Talk: Networks order updates of old shows like Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

This is the time of year when networks order pilot episodes of shows they might want to add to their schedules for next season. Each network orders several pilots each year, but not all of them make it to air.

If some of the most buzzed about pilots are picked up, some viewers—especially all of you Baby Boomers—may find yourselves experiencing a triple case of déjà vu.

NBC’s pilots include updates of Charlie’s Angels and The Rockford Files, two of the 1970’s most iconic series. And CBS has ordered a highly-anticipated remake of Hawaii Five-O, which originally ran on CBS from 1968 to 1980.

Shortly after ordering the Hawaii Five-O pilot, CBS announced their golden boy, Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin, has been cast in Jack Lord’s old role of Steve McGarrett. Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim has signed on as Detective Chin Ho Kelly, with Battlestar Galactica’s Grace Park playing Chin Ho’s niece. (Coincidentally, Battlestar Galactica was arguably one of the most successful remakes of any series in history.)

It’s about time O’Loughlin got a break. CBS canceled his first series as a lead actor, Moonlight, in 2008. The next year, he did a memorable guest stint as a serial killer on CBS’s Criminal Minds, and last fall he landed the starring role in another CBS series, Three Rivers. (He also co-stars with Jennifer Lopez in this spring’s feature film, The Back-Up Plan, which—you guessed it—also has a connection, it’s produced by CBS Films.)

I haven’t heard any casting news concerning Charlie’s Angels yet, but NBC recently announced that Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding) will be tackling the role of Jim Rockford for the pilot. Talk about big shoes to fill. The success of the original series was largely the result of James Garner’s quirky charm.

There are other possible remakes in the mix—CW’s reworking of La Femme Nikita could well end up accompanying their “re-imaginings” of 90210 and Melrose Place, of the latter is even renewed. And NBC had been discussing a U.S. version of the immensely successful British series, Prime Suspect. Actually, it was more like a series of mini-series, all starring Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. That seems to be on the back-burner, perhaps because it would be next to impossible to try to best Mirren’s Emmy-winning performance.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

From the Mar. 10-16, 2010 issue

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