Somebody should have Vegas odds on whether an entire 24-hour-cycle can go by without some studio going into development on turning a Hollywood flick into a TV show. The most recent example of this growing trend is the honky-tonking 1980 drama Urban Cowboy, which Paramount TV is putting together for a possible home at Fox, which has given the project a script commitment. Well, yeehaw!
The small screen version of Urban Cowboy is said to be a modern reimagining, according to THR, which makes sense but still sounds strange, considering the world of country music couldn’t be more different than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (If the word hick-hop is used to describe it, I’ll walk out into Houston traffic.)
The original film saw John Travolta, fresh off of Grease, and Debra Winger as young lovers Bud and Sissy, whose lives are intertwined with a local bar and the rodeo-loving, oil-refining, line-dancing culture surrounding it. Modern Texas, family legacies and the American dream will also play into the thematic side of the show, which we can probably expect to match the music with over-the-top drama.
I mean, just check out the movie’s trailer and imagine it being Fox-ified.
Urban Cowboy 2.0 is being developed by Craig Brewer, the filmmaker who made his first big splash with the release of the hip-hop-driven Hustle & Flow in 2005. He later crafted the bluesy Black Snake Moan in 2006 and a goofy remake of the dance drama Footloose in 2011. I’d say that’s a pedigree that makes him a solid candidate to bring this musically-inclined story to the small screen. Brewer previously directed episodes of The Shield and Terriers, but this will be the first time he’s involved in the writing process of a TV show. The film’s producer Robert Evans will be behind this project as well.
Upon its release, Urban Cowboy took in around $46 million at the U.S. box office, enough to make it the 13th highest-grossing film in 1980. (Right behind Popeye and very far behind The Empire Strikes Back.) The movie isn’t as fondly remembered as some of Travolta’s other hits of that era, though the update might draw more attention if he got attached in some way.
Fox already has a TV quasi-sequel of Minority Report on the way, and they’re probably looking for something that can be paired up with the monster hit Empire. Can cowboy boots and bucking bulls do the trick?