CBS takes a shot with assembled ‘Earp’ pic

CBS has acquired rights to a “Wyatt Earp” featurization — culled from the original TV series — that the network plans to air this summer, timed to the June release of Warner Bros.’ “Wyatt Earp” feature.

The movie, which features newly shot footage featuring original star Hugh O’Brian blended with colorized material from the series that aired from 1955-61 on ABC (Daily Variety, Dec. 15, 1993), marks the first deal out of CST Entertainment Imaging’s recently formed CST Featurizations unit, headed by Rob Word.

“Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone” is the first of six planned movies that will be assembled from 226 available episodes of “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.” CBS has an option on additional movies, and CST expects to sell the sixpack as a package overseas. A second entry, “Wyatt’s Women,” is in pre-production.

By airing the “Earp” feature, CBS employs a similar strategy used last year by NBC, which scored solid ratings airing three episodes of the original “The Fugitive” shortly after Warner Bros. released the high-grossing theatrical version.

Building a movie

The novelty about featurizations is that the process entails actually assembling a movie from episodes of an old series, which, in Earp’s case, were only semi-serialized. New footage, shot in Tombstone, Ariz., will feature O’Brian, as well as Bruce Boxleitner, Harry Carey Jr., Don Meredith and Martin Kove. CST is developing the Earp featurization with Wyatt Earp Enterprises. Kate Edelman,daughter of the show’s creator, Louis F. Edelman, will serve as associate producer.

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