What Old NBC Shows Might The Peacock Consider Next?

With network considering "Murder, She Wrote" and "Remington Steele," could "Hello Larry" prove viable?

With a remake of “Murder, She Wrote” on tap and a “Remington Steele” re-do reportedly in the works, NBC may want to consider switching its slogan from “More Colorful” to “Everything Old Is New Again.”

The Peacock in recent years has exhibited a jones for dusting off old TV chestnuts and trying to breathe new life into them. The record thus far has not been that stellar, as this season’s now–cancelled “Ironside” can attest, alongside efforts such as 2007’s “Bionic Woman,” 2008’s “Knight Rider,” or 2012’s “Mockingbird Lane” special (a revamp of “The Munsters”). NBC recently tried to resuscitate “The Rockford Files,”but the pilot never got picked up for a series.

To be sure, it’s not fair to single out NBC for this practice. Isn’t CBS running a retooled version of “Hawaii Five-O” on Friday nights (and didn’t word just surface that CBS is trying to rework “Charmed”)? Didn’t ABC try to pluck “Charlie’s Angels” from TV-show heaven just two seasons ago? And isn’t the CW making something out of the re-tooled “90210” (though it could not do the same for its old companion series, “Melrose Place”)? And Syfy, the popular cable network owned by parent NBCUniversal, did quite well with an update of “Battlestar Galactica,”the Universal-produced sci-fi series that ran on ABC in between 1978 and 1980.

But NBC, at least on the surface, seems far more interested in the older stuff. In the case of “Murder, She Wrote,” there could be good reason. As owner of the old program, NBCUniversal stands to bring the series more popularity by mounting another run (and could a license fee be cheaper if your studio already owns the rights? Just asking).

With NBC on a seasons-spanning revival tear, we can’t help but make a few other suggestions about other old NBC programs that might be ripe for modernization. Or just ripe after being exhumed from the TV-series grave. In any case, would NBC consider remaking any of the following…..?


Original Run: February, 1979 to May, 1979

Old Premise: Luxurious train with shopping and swimming on board hurtles across the U.S. as various characters engage in intertwined romantic tales, “Love Boat”-style

Potential New Premise: Train conductor on massive new U.S. “rocket” train secretly carries valuable formula that can make plants grow anywhere , must transmit a piece of the equation to operatives waiting in different parts of the country each week.

Likelihood of Rebirth: Slim to none. This series cost so much and flopped so badly that it is considered one of the biggest debacles in TV. Comcast-owned Peacock not likely to want to revisit.


Original Run: September, 1983 to December, 1983

Old Premise: Dr. Jonathan Chase can shift into any animal he chooses, and uses his powers to help the police solve crimes.

Potential New Premise: Environmental activist develops ability to emulate different animal attributes like the speed of a cheetah or the mimicry of a parrot and uses his powers to defend endangered species.

Likelihood of rebirth: Possible. Could show be part of new wave of company’s “Green is Universal” effort? How much will special effects cost?

B.J. And the Bear

Original Run: February, 1979 to August, 1981

Original Premise: Trucker B.J. McKay and his pet chimpanzee Bear travel the nation’s highways while avoiding long arm of lawman Sherriff Lobo. In later episodes, McKay ran his own trucking concern and hired seven lady truckers to haul freight.

Potential New Premise: “Breaking Bad” meets “Every Which Way But Loose”: Down-and-out trucker must transport illicit goods across state lines to earn money to pay for sick daughter’s medical bills. Chimpanzee is old family pet who keeps lookout for the law.

Likelihood of rebirth: Slim. Animal activists have turned use of live animals in ads and TV shows into cause celebre, and many purveyors of entertainment routinely shun the practice. Could digital chimp prove viable substitute (Note to showrunners: Possible social media extensions)?

Grandpa Goes To Washington

Original Run: September, 1978 to January, 1979

Original Premise: Political science teacher in his 60s, forced to retire, gets himself elected U.S. Senator

Potential New Premise: More “West Wing”: Old-school liberal funnels riches from wind-farm venture into political bid, and emerges victorious. Before he can get anything done, however, the government shuts down and he must use his business wiles to get things back on track in a Congress that simply cannot or will not come together.

Likelihood of rebirth: Good. An average Joe cracking heads in a do-nothing government? Who wouldn’t tune in?

Pink Lady and Jeff

Original Run: March, 1980 to April, 1980

 Original Premise: Comic Jeff Altman co-hosts variety show with Japanese music duo Pink Lady. Jokes made at expense of singing pair, who did not speak great English

Potential New Premise: Nostalgia-themed variety package brings together clips from Pink Lady and Jeff, Sonny & Cher, Shields & Yarnell, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Donny & Marie and “The Brady Bunch Hour.”

Likelihood of rebirth: As a one-time special around holiday-time or in August? High.

Hello, Larry

Original Run: January, 1979 to April, 1980

Original Premise: Divorced radio talk-show host tries to make life for himself and two teenage daughters in Portland, Oregon.

Potential New Premise: Divorced controversial radio-talk show host finds himself at odds with two college-age daughters who believe in everything he doesn’t, yet still love him dearly.

Likelihood of rebirth: As an entry for network’s Thursday-night comedy? Possible.

More TV

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

  • 'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First

    'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First Docusoap on the State of Reality TV

    Netflix crossed another unscripted threshold on Friday with the launch of “Selling Sunset,” an 8-episode series that follows a group of real estate agents on the Sunset Strip. The show is believed to be the streaming service’s first docusoap, the now-ubiquitous format first popularized in the early 2000s by shows like MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and [...]

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • 'Supernatural' to End After Season 15

    'Supernatural' to End After Season 15 on The CW

    “Supernatural” is ending after 15 seasons. Series stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins made the announcement in a video posted on Instagram on Friday. “We just told the crew that even though we’re very excited to be moving into our 15th season, it will be our last,” Ackles said. “15 years of a [...]

  • Gayle King Power of Women 2017

    CBS News, Gayle King Close to Terms for New 'CBS This Morning' Contract

    Gayle King is likely to stay a morning person. The popular anchor, who has enjoyed a steady stream of big-interview “gets” in recent weeks, is moving closer to signing a new deal to stay at CBS News and “CBS This Morning,” according to two people familiar with the matter. The talks are still in flux, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content