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Deadline.com reports NBC has opted not to proceed with the proposed re-imagining of one of the most successful series in TV history – "Murder, She Wrote" — which had Oscar winner Octavia Spencer attached to star.
The project, from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari, got a lot of attention when it came together in October, receiving a put pilot commitment from the network. A light, contemporary procedural, it was to follow a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel.
Rebooting an iconic series is extremely difficult, as proved by a string of efforts, including NBC’s attempt at a contemporary "Rockford Files" from "House"creator David Shore and producer Steve Carell, which didn’t go to series. It took two attempts with different writers for a new "Hawaii Five-0" to get on the air. The same happened with "Prime Suspect" — it was actually Cunningham’s take that got NBC brass’ approval and attracted Maria Bello for a well-received remake of the British drama — and with ABC’s "Charlie’s Angels."
Word is that NBC is not giving up on a "Murder, She Wrote" reboot. Because the original series was so beloved, Deadline reports the network felt they could try approaching it in a different way, possibly with a new concept. The pass from NBC frees up Spencer, who is expected to be among the most sought-after actresses for pilots this season. Janollari has another NBC drama, "Salvation," that has received a pilot order, and Cunningham has drama project "Gone For Good" in contention at the network.