As Fans Rally To Save Magnum P.I., Star Shares Inspirational Story (Involving Tom Hanks) About Save-The-Show Billboard Being Full-Circle Career Moment

It’s been quite a ride for all involved with Magnum P.I. in the month since CBS officially cancelled the sun-soaked procedural drama, with fans leading an impressive effort to find the Jay Hernandez-starring series a new home at another network or streaming platform. It’s unclear how successful such efforts will be, with NBC and USA still feasibly in the running to potentially pick the show up for a fifth season, but regardless of how it goes, one Magnum P.I. star couldn’t appreciate the fandom more, with Stephen Hill sharing an awesome story about how the “#SaveMagnumPI” billboard in Times Square served as a full-circle moment for his career. 

Stephen Hill, who portrayed helicopter pilot Theodore “TC” Calvin for Magnum P.I.’s four seasons (so far), has reflected on fans campaigning to bring the drama back to life outside of CBS’ cancellation. The actor took to Instagram with an inspirational tale about where he was at in his career ahead of Magnum coming together, and it involved a little bit of Tom Hanks, a shot of Bubba Gump, and a twist of Manifest’s pilot. Here’s how he started it off: 

I saved an article from [Esquire] many years ago when they interviewed Tom Hanks and he told a story about cashing his unemployment checks at Chemical Bank in Times Sq. on 44th and Broadway, and years later they built a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant in the same space. I was so inspired by that because I was on unemployment when I read it. I used to work on the same 44th and Broadway corner at [Carmine’s Italian Restaurant] . Jan 10th 2017 was my last day there. . . . . I got a manager and a new agent and booked a few cool projects like [Netflix’s Maniac] and [the film Widows] and I even booked a small role on a show called Manifest that I never shot because we turned it down because I booked [Magnum P.I.].

In his social media post, Stephen Hill shared a few images from his days at Carmine’s, starting off with the bar visit that he and his coworkers shared for his last day. I love that it was a Tom Hanks interview that helped drive the actor’s inspiration to reach further and higher to attain his goals. Granted, not everybody is going to land something as massive as Forest Gump and its bizarre restaurant “spinoff,” as it were, but it COULD happen for anyone is more the point. 

It seems like everything might have also worked out for Hill even if he’d taken the role on Manifest, since that show became a pop culture sub-phenomenon in its own right thanks to its bonkers storyline. Note that Manifest didn’t have Magnum P.I.’s ratings, though, and was also inevitably cancelled at NBC, though Netflix stepped in to revive the supernatural drama for a fourth and final season.

In any case, let’s get back to Stephen Hill’s story for his magical full-circle connection between his situation then and where things are at now. In his words: 

March 19, 2018 was the 1st day of shooting the Magnum pilot (A little over a year after leaving Carmine's.) Fast forward to yesterday, the most amazing Magnum P.I. fans put up a billboard in Times Sq. on 45th and Broadway...a block away from Carmine's...a block away from Bubba Gump Shrimp. Now my story may not be as inspiring as the one Hanks told, but it's amazing and inspiring to me and the awesome fans of Magnum P.I. I am humbled and reminded to enjoy the journey and follow the signs. To the fans of Magnum P.I., you're the best of the best. Thank you. ✊🏿

Tell ‘em, TC! Er, I mean, Stephen Hill! As big of a metro space as New York City is, there’s definitely something special about that one area being so rooted in Hill’s personal and career history, especially since it also ties back to Tom Hanks’ own humbling beginnings before he became a superstar who could call his own shots in Hollywood. Maybe that day is coming soon for the Magnum P.I. vet. If the show does indeed get picked up for another season or two at NBC or USA, don’t be surprised if Hill follows that up with a Bubba Gump spinoff. (Though probably don’t expect it, either.) 

Check out Stephen Hill’s full post below!

For now, Magnum P.I.’s first four seasons are available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription. Stay tuned for more updates on the show’s potential future, wherever it may happen.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.