Thursday, May 13, 2010

No New Rockford!

It's the best news I've heard recently. An NBC source confirms there'll be no remake of The Rockford Files coming our way this fall.
And why should there be. James Garner was it. The man. The one and only.
But NBC has this fixation about remaking classics from the past.
The peacock proud web tried to reboot Bionic Woman and that once crashed in flames.
NBC also tried to remake the talking car saga, Knight Rider. Again another spectacular failure.
This version of The Rockford Files even went to pilot stage. The new pilot was produced by Steve Carell and David Shore (executive producer of House).
But Garner wasn't around --these days he's a magnificently preserved 82 years young, far older than Noah Beery Jr. was when he played the dad in the original.
And sorry to say but replacement Dermot Mulroney is no Jim Garner,
One of my favorite times in L.A. was a lunch with Garner himself in his trailer on the Rockford set.
Garner was as I expected witty, sardonic, and quite humble. He was getting medical attention for bruises on his arm and legs --he preferred doing stunts and I wonder if 30 years later he still isn't feeling the pain in form of arthritis.
Also present was Meta Rosenberg who later quarreled with Garner over the fact the series was listed in the loss column --it was the reason he left the show although he later returned for TV movies.
On the record nobody is saying why this one flopped. Off the record? It was apparently quite awful on all fronts. And that's strange.
The director was respected veteran Michael Watkins whose credits include NYPD Blue and Quantum Leap.
The storyline meandered and was considered not up to scratch. It didn't seem up to date in any way. There were long re-editing sessions headed by Dawn Parouse.
Rockford was a pet project of NBC entertainment president Angela Bromstad so there may be another pilot shot simply to appease Carell but chances of meeting a fall deadline seem unlikely.

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