Magnum P.I. Star Talks Feeling More 'Connected' To Fans After NBC Renewal, And Challenges Of Coming Back

Magnum P.I. arrived on NBC in the 2023 TV premiere schedule for its fifth season, with Thomas Magnum and Co. returning to primetime after the show’s surprise cancellation by CBS back in May of 2022. Despite Magnum P.I.'s status as a hit on its original network, CBS had decided to give the axe after four seasons, which led to fans spending nearly two months campaigning for a rescue from another platform. Amy Hill, who plays cultural curator Kumu, opened up to CinemaBlend about feeling a new connection with fans with the NBC renewal and what wasn’t easy about coming back.

NBC is now Magnum P.I.’s home on network TV, and enough episodes of Season 5 have aired so far for fans to realize just how much the show picked up where it left off in Season 4. The cast also came back to work after seeing the Magnum fandom go all-out for many weeks to campaign for a rescue. When Amy Hill spoke with CinemaBlend about playing Kumu, she shared how knowing how invested fans are in the show gave her a new perspective:

You see the numbers, but they're just numbers, and you're like, 'Wow, that many people are watching us every week? Well, that's cool.' But you can't imagine them as human beings, individuals… Even though we get DMed and people post on Twitter and stuff, you don't really get to know them very well, and I felt like I really felt more connected to the fans, after they started the petition, put up billboards. I felt like I knew who they were, and then I felt more obliged to try to take care of them… It's kind of nice, and we have fans in the strangest places. I don't know exactly where we're airing, but apparently, we have fans in Brazil, and Japan, and France, and the UK. I don't know how. I don't know how this all works out. It's thrilling.

For Amy Hill, seeing the fans come out to push for a Magnum P.I. renewal helped her to see them as more than just ratings numbers. She also discovered that the show has fans from all over the world, many of whom had the passion (and determination) to put the work in for Season 5, including contributing to the fund that resulted in a “SAVE MAGNUM P.I.” billboard in Times Square!

Members of the cast reacted to the fans getting the billboard on social media over the summer, when there were still a few weeks left before the official renewal news was announced. When I noted to Amy Hill that the movement to save Magnum P.I. felt very real and powerful after the fans got the billboard, she responded:

Oh yeah! I don't know how people do this. They put their money on the line to do that. How do you do that? How did they connect with each other? I don't know, but those billboards aren't cheap, and it couldn't be just one or two [fans]. It had to be a lot of fans came together and put the money up.

The loss of Magnum P.I. was enough to bring fans from all over together to fund a billboard, and that gesture isn’t lost on Amy Hill. We may never know how much of an impact the fan support had in bringing the show back; star Jay Hernandez had to keep a tight lid on what he knew last year when the cast was still waiting on news of whether or not the show would have a future. 

The length of time between the Season 4 finale back in early May 2022 and the Season 5 premiere in February 2023 was the longest hiatus in the history of the Magnum P.I. revival. Amy Hill opened up about what it was like to pick up where the show left off after such a long break from playing Kumu, saying:

We did have a long break when the pandemic hit. We normally start in July and we didn't start until September, so we had that experience of, you know, 'Are we coming back?' Because when the pandemic was happening, we didn't know what was going to happen to people doing television. And this was a different one, because we didn't know if we were coming back ever, and then we got picked up by NBC. It's always like, how are we going to accommodate the needs of the fans, as well as accommodate the needs of the stories that we have to tell on the show?

Although Magnum P.I. wasn’t on the long list of shows that had to suspend production in March 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, it was still very much affected by the pandemic when it came to uncertainty about the future. After the lengthy pandemic hiatus, the Magnum team was back for another two seasons on CBS before the cancellation last year, and the long break ahead of the NBC premiere meant some challenges. Hill continued:

They didn't expect to get cancelled, so they were already anticipating what the storylines would be for the next season, and that's good. So we already knew kind of what was going to happen, but we just didn't have the staff. I think they only have eight writers for this whole season, and we're doing two episodes at a time. So when you're doing two episodes, you have to write at least two shows, right? [laughs] So they had to write all these shows, like, immediately. That was difficult, I think, and trying to fulfill everybody's needs, they focus mostly on the stories that they had already planned. Which is difficult!

The show had a bit of a head start thanks to knowing what the writers had planned for Season 5 before the cancellation news, but coming back with fewer writers to execute those plans was evidently complicated! Now that several episodes of Season 5 have aired (and can be revisited streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription), I think it’s safe to say that the show is back to delivering the kinds of stories that made fans so passionate in the first place. 

New episodes of Magnum P.I. air on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, ahead of the current tenth and final season of The Blacklist. It’s hard to guess how long of a future the show starring Jay Hernandez, Perdita Weeks, Tim Kang, Stephen Hill, Zachary Knighton, and of course Amy Hill has on NBC, but the two-season renewal means that fans can relax and enjoy the ride for the foreseeable future!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.