‘Lethal Weapon’ Pilot Greenlit at Fox, Damon Wayans Sr. to Star

Fox has given an formal pilot order to “Lethal Weapon,” based on the film franchise, Variety has learned.

Damon Wayans, Sr. will star in the potential series, playing Roger Murtaugh, the role played by Danny Glover in the original 1987 movie and its three sequels, which co-starred Mel Gibson.

Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” will follow a Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs (yet to be cast) who suffers the loss of his wife and baby and moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh (Wayans, Sr.), who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life. In the original buddy cop films, Gibson played Martin Riggs.

“Forever” creator Matt Miller will pen the television adaptation and exec produce along with Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz. McG has been tapped to direct the hourlong pilot, and he’ll also serve as an exec producer. Warner Bros. Television will produce along with Lin Pictures and Good Session Productions. (Warner Bros. was behind the film franchise.)

“Lethal Weapon” is the latest television adaptation of movies this pilot season, joining “The Exorcist” at Fox (which passed on their “Urban Cowboy” spin), “Cruel Intentions” and “Taken” at NBC,” “Time After Time” at ABC, “Frequency” at the CW, plus “Training Day” and “Nancy Drew” at CBS.

Movie reboots have taken over the past couple of pilot seasons, as broadcasters are looking for familiar titles and brand recognition in the hopes of luring in viewers in the highly competitive “too much TV” era — however, high viewer expectation is also risky.

This current TV season, Fox took their try with “Minority Report,” which was cut to 10 episodes, shortly after its initial run. Across the broadcast nets, “Limitless” has been a hit on CBS, which will also debut “Rush Hour” in March, and “Uncle Buck” will soon premiere on ABC. Cable is hot on the trend too — just this week, USA Network picked up “Shooter,” based on the Mark Wahlberg film.

Fox “Lethal Weapon” TV series was put into development this past October, landing at Fox after garnering much interest and bids from other networks.

The original “Lethal Weapon” flick spawned three sequels, released in 1989, 1992 and 1998, and a fifth installment has been in development at Warner Bros. for some time.

Wayans, Sr. is repped by ICM Partners and Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo LLP.

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