‘Kojak’ back on the job

Watkins will helm Rhames starrer for cabler

USA is moving forward with the first of a potential wheel of “Kojak” movies with Ving Rhames attached to exec produce and star.

Cabler has greenlit production on the first telepic, signing Michael Watkins (“5ive Days to Midnight”) to helm. Tony Piccirillo (“The 24th Day”) penned the script. Production is slated to begin in Canada this month. Playa Inc. is aboard to produce the pic for USA.

Tom Thayer (A&E’s “The Great Gatsby”) will also exec produce.

Rhames will portray Lt. Theo Kojak in an update of the police drama. Project has been in development for more than a year (Daily Variety, Jan. 10, 2003).

Original skein last aired on the Alphabet web in 1990 after kicking off a lengthy run on CBS in 1973.

Movie is just one of several Universal properties that USA is reinventing. Cabler is moving forward with a planned “Scarface” miniseries.

Rhames’ recent feature credits include “Dawn of the Dead” and “Dark Blue.”

Watkins’ credits include co-exec producing “Las Vegas” and “Smallville,” in addition to helming episodes of series including “American Dreams” and “NYPD Blue.”

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