‘Rockford Files’ Remake Canceled

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 12:59 am,

The Rockford Files remake has been canceled.

The pilot for the rebooted detective series was considered a disaster – and the show will not be picked up by NBC. The 21st Century version of the 1970s series was set to star Dermot Mulroney as the laconic detective Jim Rockford.

Vulture delved deep into this particular set of Rockford files, and discovered the pilot for the potential series didn’t work – and that it was “more rehash than reinvention”.  A lot of the blame appears to be getting placed on director Michael Watkins – a TV veteran who has helmed everything from Quantum Leap to Justified.

According to one of Vulture’s sources at NBC:

“The pilot looked like it was shot in the seventies. You didn’t even know it was the current day until Jim pulled out his cell phone. It looked like Stephen J. Cannell directed it himself.”

Apparently, everything from the overarching pacing down to technical details, such as the lighting, made the show appear too retro – but not in a good way!

Some complaints have also focused on Mulroney’s interpretation of Jim Rockford. Audience members had mixed opinions, some saying he “didn’t pop” with others calling him “adorable” in the role originally played by the great James Garner.

‘Adorable’ or ‘Didn’t Pop’?

Prison Break producer Dawn Parouse was called in to rework the pilot only days before shooting began. Then, once the show was in the can, she spent a week attempting to fix it in editing. While Parouse was able to turn things around (in a minimal way) it would appear that NBC decided it wasn’t enough to convince them to pick up the series.

The show was even given a second look, as NBC’s Entertainment President, Angela Bromstad, saw it as a way to keep Steve Carell (who was co-producing the Rockford remake with David Shore) in The Office beyond a seventh season – since Carell wants to leave and focus on his movie career. Bromstad is also close with Shore, who found previous success when he created House.

The Rockford Files has built-in brand recognition and, perhaps, older viewers would have tuned-in out of curiosity alone.

But for how long? Apparently, NBC didn’t think the end-product would have kept nostalgic viewers interested very long – even though, originally, The Rockford Files remake was thought to be a sure thing!

Are you surprised to hear the fate of The Rockford Files remake? What do you think of NBC’s choice not to go forward with the series?

Source: Vulture

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  1. Thank the Lord for small favors!

    • “Small”, my great-aunt Fanny!

      This is HUGE!

  2. I 2nd that Gary sometimes you just need to leave the “Classic’s” alone

    till next time

  3. If they try again, they should get Bruce Campbell to play Jim Rockford. (And James Garner as Rocky!)

    • Good call – that could work!! Kinda glad this attempt flopped, though. It was a classic show, and it’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice…

  4. I am so glad this was cancelled…now please burn all copies of pilot so it doesn’t go to one of those file sharing sites.

  5. So delighted that this will never see the light of day.
    Nobody can replace James Garner as Jim Rockford.

  6. Didn’t know they even thought about this but it probably wouldn’t have made it past 5 episodes. Good decision. These writers are running out of ideas. That’s why new shows are even lucky if they pass 2 or 3 season’s nowadays. It’s going to be even worse when long running shows that have been around for 7 or more seasons reach their end and no good shows to replace them. Hope they don’t make more reality tv shows. Like we need more of those?

  7. I am saddened that we won’t get an original remake, but I am happy that we won’t see Rockford’s background change from VETERAN to Cop come to life. THERE ARE TOO MANY COP SHOWS! Veterans are overlooked every day for their sacrifices, and shown as psychos when they integrate back into society. Rockford’s character was a vet, who spawned Magnum, who was a vet – and both showed vets in a good light. As a vet myself, even though I love the show, I would have had a hard time watching it with him being just another cop….






  9. Bruce Campbell would be perfect to play Jim Rockford, but it may be a few years too late, he is already in his 50′s.

  10. My guess is that NBC is still gunshy from the failure of The Bionic Woman redo…when the villain is more interesting than the hero, trouble looms ahead.

  11. Maybe if they had cast Joe Flanigan, it might have had humor which is what set the original a part from the other cop shows. When I heard they had cast Mulroney I vowed to never watch it. I find him boring and not aging so well. I’m glad it went into the can of things Hollywood got wrong!

    • i agree with nissa36 joe flanigan would be perfect for jim rockford he has got the humour and action ability if the producers try to make the rockford files without humour itll be doomed to failure itll be compared to much to the great james garners performance and wont have a leg to stand on ive heard other names mentioned but non of thease other names i belive could carry this part flanigan was made for the part of jim rockford

  12. Good call on Bruce Campbell and James Garner. We may be headed for several more of these 70′s remakes since Hawaii Five-0 is doing so well. A show I happen to like by the way. I just saw the news about Rockford Files being remade and thought Uggggg, noway before even hearing who would be in it. When looking into it, I saw that it was already dropped LOL. It came and went before I even knew about it. They got it right on not going through with it with the cast that was planned. They usually don’t have a clue.

  13. It is a good thing that this wasn’t green lighted for a series….. it is amazing that with the number of people in hollywood that truly original ideas are so scarce …and when they do green light a “remake” they do it horribly. Another NBC pipe-dream trying to recapture their legitimacy, not counting 30 rock and chuck ofc, the big 3 should just merge into a conglomerate of stupid.

  14. When I saw Mel Gibson play Maverick, I thought that he would have made a good James Rockford. But that was years ago. Now he’s too old.

  15. I would like to see a Rockford remake. But we need some one with snappy patter and the “what? poor little old me?” looks and sound. I don’t know who to get because the actors are not as good and versitle as they used to be. They only specialize in one thing.

  16. OMG! My husband and I were wondering what happened to them remaking it. Had not even heard that it had been cast. We’ve been saying that Bruce Campbell should be the new Rockford for over a year now!!!

    USA should do the remake of the series!!!! Bruce Campbell would be the best at it! James Garner should be Rocky.

    I grew up watching Rockford Files with my dad. Bruce Campbell would be the only one to do the character justice.

  17. For years I thought that Mel Gibson would have made a good Rockford but then he did Maverick. I think that Jim Garner is not in great health so I’m not sure that its an option for him to play Rocky. They should just rerun the series.

  18. When will Hollywierd ever realize that the older stars have a class and a presence that these younger kids don’t? James Garner to this day has more style, wit and grace about him than these kids will ever hope to have. They learned their craft, they acted appropriately (most of the time) and put out a quality product that even these many years later keeps us entertained.
    These half-baked remakes should teach the producers something–namely that the modern stuff being offered isn’t the quality of the older programs and people want that back. Else how would you explain the popularity of the old re-runs, TVLand, etc.? People want to be entertained, not grossed out and that’s pretty much what modern TV does.

  19. The problem with doing TV remakes, whether its an updated television or theatrical version is that not only do you have to appeal to the original audience, but you have to introduce the conept to a whole new generation. Shows such as Knight Rider, The Dukes of Hazzard, Magnum, P.I., etc., etc, etc, were never done before when they originally aired. So since the concept at the time were new, it attracted audiences. However alot of these shows were either updated for television or remade for theatrical release. In order to make it mildly successful you have to take out part of what made the show work and replace it with an element that the newer generation can appreciate. For example when it came to the remake of Knight Rider, the main trick that KITT performed was TURBO BOOST. In the newer version from 2008 TURBO BOOST was toned down considerably but was replaced with this car transforming into a more cartoonish looking vehicle. Also another thing that factors into television remakes is of course “MONEY.” We do not live in an age where there are only three major networks anymore. So the money is not as even distributed to produce a television series (especially one with expensive stunts) as once before. You have all of these cable networks with original programming and reality TV. Alot of that money is invested into that kind of programming now. A car jump which may have cost $20,000 in the 80s may easily cost $1 million dollars now. So I understand why the New Rockford was pulled. Only a handful of the older viewers would have watched it but for how long????