Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula Talks His 'Very Difficult Decision' About Not Returning For NBC's Revival

quantum leap trailer screenshot scott bakula
(Image credit: NBC Classics)

Quantum Leap is on the way back to television this fall, nearly three decades after the series finale of the original show abruptly ended the story of Dr. Sam Beckett, played by Scott Bakula. Although early reports suggested that Bakula could be involved in the upcoming NBC revival, the actor himself has now clarified his connection to the series… or, more specifically, lack of connection. 

Just days before the Quantum Leap revival (starring Raymond Lee) premieres on September 19, Scott Bakula took to Instagram with a message addressed to “Quantum Leap fans around the world.” He thanked them for hanging around over the decades since the original series, but wanted to “quiet the rumors and move on.” He wrote: 

Here’s the simple version of what’s going on with the Quantum Leap reboot and me: I have no connection with the new show, either in front of the camera or behind it. In January, the pilot was sold and a script was sent to me because the character of Sam Beckett was in it, which makes sense, right? As so many of you have been asking me the last several months, ‘How could you do QL without Sam?’(or Al, for that matter) Well, I guess we’re about to find out.

Scott Bakula’s comments track with what happened when news first broke back in January that a Quantum Leap revival might actually happen. At the time, it was reported that the actor (who was absent from primetime after NCIS: New Orleans came to an end months before) was expected to be involved. According to him now, he did receive a script in January, but it did not lead to his involvement in the revival of the sci-fi series. 

Fans of the original may be glad to see that he made a special mention of Al, played by the late Dean Stockwell, when addressing the question of how this show could happen without Sam. The actor didn’t explain exactly why he’s not involved in the new show, but he did go on to elaborate on the situation and his hopes for the project:

As the show has always been near and dear to my heart, it was a very difficult decision to pass on the project, a decision that has upset and confused so many fans of the original series. However, the idea of anyone ‘leaping’ around in time and walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, remains a very appealing concept and so worthy of exploration, especially given the current state of mankind. In that spirit, I am crossing my fingers that this new cast and crew are lucky enough to tap into the magic that propelled the original Quantum Leap into the hearts and minds of generations past and present.

It evidently wasn’t an easy decision for Scott Bakula to pass on participating in NBC’s new Quantum Leap, but the actor (whose NBC pilot didn’t get the green light earlier this year) also only had good things to say about the prospect of the new take on his beloved series coming back to television. He has high hopes for the team behind Quantum Leap to recapture what worked so well back in the original five-season run from 1989 - 1993. He finished his message by saying that he wishes them “good luck and happy leaping.” Check out the full post (and Quantum Leap photo that he chose) below:

If you want to revisit Scott Bakula’s time as Dr. Sam Beckett, you can find all five seasons of the original Quantum Leap streaming with a Peacock subscription now. The new show will premiere on NBC on Monday, September 19 at 10 p.m. ET, in what is the unofficial first night of the broadcast network fall TV premiere season. Monday night also sees the returns of some of television’s other biggest network shows, including NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i on CBS for a crossover event and 9-1-1 over on Fox with its Season 6 premiere. 

For more viewing options in the not-too-distant future, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to start planning ahead for the fall. 

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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).