EXCLUSIVE: NBC’s reboot of The Rockford Files is not going forward, at least not for the current development season. The decision was made after writer David Shore couldn’t write a new script because he unexpectedly had to devote his entire attention to his Fox series House. The veteran Fox medical drama had planned an ambitious multi-episode arc featuring Dr. House on the road, which was a brainchild of executive producer Katie Jacobs. But when the arc was scrapped in advanced stages, Shore had to jump in and help re-break stories for a significant portion of the season, which also recently grew larger with an order for one additional episode by Fox. With Shore not being able to focus on Rockford Files, the project has been shelved. It is possible for the idea to be revisited next season if new NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt is interested. The Rockford Files remake originated last development season at Universal Media Studios and Steve Carell’s studio-based Carousel. (UMS also produces House, which probably made things easier.) The reboot, written and executive produced by Shore, was picked up to pilot but didn’t make the cut for a series order in May. It was subsequently put in re-development, with Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 joining in the summer as a co-production entity.
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 is becoming a key player in NBC’s development plans for next season with 3 high-profile projects. Last week, the company took over NBC’ drama pilot Prime Suspect. Now I hear Berg and Aubrey are also coming on board NBC’ other big reboot, The Rockford Files, which is expected to film a new pilot. Additionally, Film 44 is developing a drama about political campaigners written by Dirty Sexy Money creator Craig Wright.
On Rockford Files, Film 44 will co-produce with Steve Carell’s Carousel, which was behind last season’s pilot written by House creator David Shore. Shore continues as writer/executive producer on Rockford, while Prime Suspect will now be written by Alexandra Cunningham, taking over from Hank Steinberg, who penned the adaptation of the iconic British drama this past season. I hear the writer change was made by the network, which is looking to strengthen the lead character, played in the original by Helen Mirren and make it more “out there” to be able to attract top talent. This past development season, the pilot was pushed after the lead couldn’t be cast.
All 3 Film 44 projects are set at Universal Media Studios where the company just reupped its overall deal. Berg may also direct one of the pilots if his schedule allows. He is busy on the feature side prepping Battleship. NBC is looking to film Prime Suspect in the fall for a possible midseason consideration.
WME-repped Film 44, along with Imagine TV and UMS, is behind the …