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?