Paramount Pictures, which has spun gold with bigscreen adaptations of such vintage TV shows as “The Addams Family” and “The Brady Bunch,” is looking to take on ’60s favorite “Hogan’s Heroes.”
The studio optioned rights to the hit CBS sitcom from Rysher Entertainment for producers Keith Samples, Jim Burke and Barry London. The producers are seeking a writer to adapt it into an action-comedy feature.
“We want to stay true to the spirit of the show, which was intelligent, witty and fun,” Samples said. “We think it’s a perfect time, given the resurgence of interest in World War II.”
The series, which ran from 1965 to 1971 (and is currently in reruns on Viacom’s TV Land), starred Bob Crane as Col. Robert Hogan, an American soldier imprisoned in a Nazi POW camp.
The twist was that Hogan and his colorful band of Allied prisoners were actually in complete control of the camp, which was overseen by the incompetent Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer). Perfectly capable of escaping at any time, Hogan and his men chose to remain so they could gather enemy secrets and pass them back to the Allies.
Rysher, a division of Cox Enterprises which Samples founded and ran until a year ago, controls the library of Bing Crosby Prods., which produced the show.
The rights had at one time been optioned by Warner Bros., where scribe Peter Doyle penned a feature version.
After the Warners option lapsed, Samples and former Rysher production exec Jim Burke — who recently reteamed to form Burke/Samples Prods. — optioned them and brought the project to Paramount.
Samples said he approached London about partnering on “Hogan’s Heroes” because of the former Par vice chairman’s experience in theatrically releasing some of the studio’s successful TV adaptations.
VP Mark Jacobson will oversee the project’s development for the Par-based Barry London Co.
Over the years, movies based on show from the ’60s and ’70s have produced mixed box office results.
Top performers include “The Addams Family,” which grossed $114 million domestically, and “Maverick,” with $102 million. Losers have included “Flipper” ($20 million) and “McHale’s Navy” ($5 million).