Chris Columbus To Reboot ‘The Rifleman’ For CBS

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 2nd, 2013 at 9:58 am,

The Rifleman reeboot CBS Chris Columbus To Reboot The Rifleman For CBS

Considering the way every network is going mad for westerns at the moment, it was only a matter of time before some of the more iconic programs from yesteryear fell under consideration for the entertainment industry’s favorite pastime: reboots. Now word is that famed director Chris Columbus will be making a rare venture to the small screen to help bring the 1950s series The Rifleman back to life.

As part of Columbus’ recent development deal with CBS Studios, The Rifleman will see the Harry Potter director teaming with Carol Mendelsohn (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) on the proposed reboot, as executive producer and director of the pilot episode. Also joining the project will be writers Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island, Bionic Woman) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry).

Originally airing as a half-hour program on ABC from 1958-1963, The Rifleman centered on Civil War hero Lucas McCain, who, with his specially modified Winchester rifle, has become a marksman of some renown. After the war, McCain relocated to a ranch in North Fork, New Mexico, to raise his young son Mark. Once there, the sharpshooter is compelled to put his unique talents to use once more, as he joins forces with the local sheriff to keep the peace in his new town.

What, precisely, will be the new take on the series is unclear, but expect some updates to make this classic western more palatable for modern audiences.

Given the well-known talent attached, and the name recognition, The Rifleman stands a good chance of attracting the kind of attention CBS is certainly hoping for. How it will fare amongst the onslaught of others in the genre remains to be seen, however.

Right now, it appears interest in the old west is high, after the premiere of AMC’s Hell on Wheels brought in an impressive 4.4 million viewers on Sunday night. Those numbers easily show why TNT is working on Gateway with Keith Carradine (Dexter), while ABC readies Ronald D. Moore’s Hangtown, and NBC sets to work on The Frontier.

For Columbus, branching out into the world of television marks another turn in his long career –starting with his work on films like Gremlins and The Goonies, and then coming into prominence after directing box office juggernauts like Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and, of course, the first two Harry Potter films. Columbus now finds himself in the same company as famed, and often controversial director Sam Peckinpah (Straw Dogs, The Wild Bunch), who actually created The Rifleman and served as a writer on the series before turning toward more provocative (and violent) filmmaking projects.

Given the work Columbus has done in the past, it will be interesting to see what approach the director takes with the pilot. As The Rifleman will be airing on CBS, it’s likely that, tonally speaking, the series will bare little resemblance to the later work of Peckinpah – or that of Hell on Wheels, for that matter.


Look for Screen Rant to bring you more news on The Rifleman, as it becomes available.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. I loved The Rifleman show when I was young, but I’m not certain if it would work today. Maybe they can make McCain an Iraq or Afghanistan War veteran with special skills and a special rifle. I’m just not sure another western is going to work.

  2. Chuck Connors was the man.

    Enlisted in the Army in WWII.
    Played for the Boston Celtics.
    Played for the Dodgers, Cubs, and Angels.
    Drafted by the Chicago Bears.
    Yes, that’s basketball, baseball, and football all at the professional level.
    First basketball player to shatter a backboard.
    Got Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax to end their holdout in 1966.
    Starred in numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows, including The Rifleman.

  3. Used to love coming home from school and wathcing the Rifleman on TV in the middle afternoon. Chuck Conners was great in Branded as well which came out after the Rifleman series ended.

    I dread what they are going to do with the story though. Probably change Mark into a girl and then make the Sheriff a drunk or tyrant. The Rifleman was a very moral show and Lucas McCain never wanted to get into a fight but was normally forced or had no other choice than to put his rifle to good use. Hate to see them turn it into a bad shadow of its former glory.

  4. Not even gonna lie i LOVE this show, i watched a marathon of this and i just could not stop watching it so im kinda happy but im not a cbs person more of a cable to me like amc or tnt (lol ikr but it could work)

  5. Uncanny skill for a guy who shot his rifle from hip level

  6. i grew up watching westerns rifleman,bonanza,lone ranger,red ryder ,streets of larado,etc. if they do a modern version or a western one do it right the western one would be better we will just have to see.

  7. Wait, let me guess.

    They’re going to make it darker, edgier, grittier… true grittier, right? ;)

  8. This attempt fits none of the criteria suggested by this website for a reasonable excuse to remake productions. As it continues to appeal to audiences after more than half a century, it’s not dated. It is very well known and terribly beloved; as is, never was “cheesy” to start. It would seem impossible to bring something new to the production without at least making the existing and classic version defend itself, if not damaging it. It is certainly not already over done to the point that nobody cares. The announcement seems to have been troubling, at best, to most thoughtful viewers. I so wish Hollywood would have the courage of its own creative convictions and do what it does best. Lead with originality rather than copy.

  9. The Rifleman was a unique show about a widower who moved west to start a new life with his son. His devotion to his son, community and his humble commitment to character made Lucas McCain, and Chuck Connors himself, iconic and were at the heart of the shows success. A man who has the courage to do the right thing despite the odds is a model we sorely need today. Will CBS And Chris Columbus “get it right?”. Time will tell. Past history shows that Hollywood messes with “remaking” classics at its peril. We can hope for the best. At the very least, we should expect Columbus to get the opening right with the modified 1892 Winchester 44-40. Maybe we will finally learn is Lucas fired 13 shots or only 12.

  10. I hope the new Rifleman does not try to become so “politically correct.”
    Remember this is the 19th, not the 21st century. Accept reality for what it is. I want to see a character much like the beloved Paul Fix. Anthony Hopkins would be my choice-soft spoken, but tough. (The British did come to America anyhow.) I would select Liam Neeson as the new Rifleman, a reasonble yet strong personality.

    • I doubt the budget would allow a cast of Hopkins and Neeson, but I love the Rifleman and hope they do a good job with it to encourage the making of more westerns which we sorely need, given the garbage on TV nowadays.

    • Neeson is great, but I think too old now for the part. He’s at least 60.

  11. I still watch the Rifleman.

    It was a good show and had moral values. I hope if they bring it back that,

    The same values are put into the show , most shows now days don’t have that.

    Thank you

  12. The original series was produced by Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner and Arnold Laven. Robert Levy, Steven Gardner and Arthur Gardner are executive producers of the remake.

  13. I appreciate the fact that many networks are trying to revive Westerns, but to reboot one of the classic Westerns is not wise. No way it will ever come close to capturing the magic of the original. And if they are not trying to copy it it will just p*ss off those of us true Western (Rifleman) fans…Can you imagine them trying to redo Rio Bravo?

  14. I think that casting is going to be very, very important. The onscreen relationship between Lucas, and his son Mark, is the reason why the show did so well. Also casting good character actors playing the outlaws also will be important. (The movie version of “The Fugative” was good. Even though it differed from the original television show, it worked). A good veteran actor like Dean Stockwell would make a great choice to play Marshall Micah Torrance for example.

  15. why not have johnny crawford play micah

    • I thought about that, too. Crawford as Micah would be great!

  16. Actually I could see Johnny Crawford having a cameo as a singing cowboy, and playing many other parts. Perhaps a recurring role as Mark’s uncle. Tommie Lee Jones could play Micah. The original actor, Paul Fix, had such a distinctive face. He was also a father figure to Lucas, and a grandfather figure to Mark.

  17. Correction, Tommy Lee Jones. Gotta learn how to spell.

  18. I think Viggo Mortenson would be perfect as Lucas …… It will be very hard to capture the feeling of the original show.
    I hope they stay close to the original as possible!!! It would refreshing …

  19. If the do what the people did to John Waynes True grit. I can tell you it will be terrible. I would hope they would keep it true to the original. But the way people are today I doubt it. Not looking forward to seeing what they decide to do

  20. FFS, please don’t ruin this classic! I’m 29 at this posting (old enough, but still too young to have grown up with this show) and only came across it in the last few years. Even with that, I would hate to see todays Hollywood ruin this like so many others.

  21. The Coen Brothers True Grit was as good, if not better than the origina filml. I like them both equally. Look folks, the character Lucas McCain is an archetype: Like James Bond, Captain Kirk, Sherlock Holmes. If you don’t believe that remaking a classic doesn’t work, please watch the films The Untouchables and also The Fugative. Both were shot in Chicago, both based on long running tv shows. In my opionion, both films are very good. Every generation has a need to reinvent itself. I don’t have a problem with a redo, as long as if it’s done well. Obviously it will never be like the original. It probably will be in color. I can live with that.

  22. I think a new Rifleman series would be a hit if done right. Most people I know watch the Rifleman reruns on cable every week even though they have seen them many times over.

  23. I was just wondering if anyone has hurd any new info about the Rifleman remake? Last I remember it was canceled, but I just wanted to make sure. I hope it’s not true, I really want see what they would do with it.

  24. I hope they find an actor who can do the eye brow lift like Chuck Connors in the series opener.
    I hope they have him stick to the same moral code. Johnny Crawford would make a great sheriff.
    Finding Marks diary and looking through it into the past would be a great story opener.

    • It was canceled just a few months after they anounced the remake, Though I can not seams to find the reason why it was canceled anywhere online. They canceled it so soon after anouncing it that they didnt even get a pilot made.