Movies-turned television shows are nothing new, but of late there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of new TV series based on well-known film (and/or movie franchises). That list includes Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist on FOX, as well as Taken on NBC and Training Day on CBS, among others. A new age of TV remakes of classic films seems to be upon us, with additional movies-turned TV shows being announced with increasing frequency.
It remains to be seen how any one of these new shows will perform for their respective networks. Still, it should come as little surprise that those in charge of programming for the various major networks are far more willing to hedge their bets on a proven entity as opposed to an unknown one. Following in the footsteps of this recent trend, CMT is now teaming up with Paramount Television to produce an original series based on the 1999 football drama, Varsity Blues.
According to THR, Varsity Blues movie screenwriter W. Peter Illiff is leading the charge for a new take on the original film’s premise: a back-up quarterback (played by James Van Der Beek in the original movie) on a Texan high school football team must step up, after the team’s lead quarterback is injured. Varsity Blues fared well enough at the box office when it was hit theaters in 1999 (eventually grossing $54 million worldwide against a $16 million budget), and has since become a ’90s favorite – despite its initial lukewarm critical reception.
Following recent news that has an original Jack Ryan series headed to Amazon (which will also be handled by parent company Paramount), Varsity Blues appears to be another production that will fall in line with a whole host of original television programs currently under production. Viewers may or may not like the idea of seeing old stories retold ad nausea on the small screen – but if Paramount and others get their way, this business strategy might prove hard to shake for the foreseeable future.
Varsity Blues has perhaps waned in popularity in the preceding ten-plus years since it saw initial theatrical release, save for being the raw material of parody fodder in films like Not Another Teen Movie from 2001. Then again, perhaps original screenwriter Illiff will manage capably in his role on the new show – and the all new CMT original series will bring the football drama back to the mainstream in a big way.
We’ll bring you more information on the Varsity Blues TV show as it becomes available.