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It would take more than two hands to count the number of remakes, reboots and revivals that have made their way to television over the past couple of years. Some of these have done pretty well for networks and streaming services, including the Fuller House spinoff and the TV remake Ash vs Evil Dead while others have failed horribly and still others have yet to premiere. NBC has a Taken TV remake headed to the schedule this season, while CBS has MacGyver and Fox has a Lethal Weapon reboot. Speaking at TCA, NBC President Jennifer Salke admitted there are pros and cons to bringing a well-known property back. Here's what she had to say.
It has to be great. [If you] jumpstart the marketing.... If you disappoint those people, it's a flat out rejection at the gate. Don't try to just recast something that was so loved... In a world where it's so hard to get word out, it really does help. The awareness is much higher than starting from nowhere. But they really have to be special. It's a finely tuned proposition.
Salke's comments (via IGN) reveal that deciding to remake a property with a built-in fanbase is no the no-brainer we might guess. In fact, we've seen a lot of these projects; from Heroes: Reborn to Minority Report and even Uncle Buck not land the audiences that the networks intended. People love movies like Minority Report and expect really high-end TV remakes of these projects. Again, if we are looking at Minority Report, that series had a decent premise, it had well-known leads in Meghan Good and Wilmer Valderrama and it nodded at the source material quite a lot. But it was never an exceptional TV series and viewers were expecting something perfect from the drama. What started as a good idea ended up being a con and the series was cancelled.
Rebooting a franchise is not all bad news, however. Because remakes, reboots and revivals already have fans who enjoyed the originals, it's a lot easier to develop buzz for new programs that do have a history. More people know that Lethal Weapon is getting rebooted than know that NBC has a new series called Timeless coming. (The latter is a time travel cat and mouse series, in case you were wondering.) So, choosing to remake or reboot a popular project really has pros and cons.
There is an inordinate amount of reboots, remakes and revivals still in the works, and it will still be a while before we see which of these end up resonating with audiences and which of these end up being a bit disappointing. You can check out what all is headed to TV this fall with our premiere schedule. (If you notice, Taken isn't on the schedule just yet.)