We’ve been talking a lot about reboots and remakes lately: What makes something unrebootable? And what makes a reboot good? There have been countless reboots announced for television over the last six weeks (at least 16, not including some that are already close to air, like the Rainbow Brite and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs animates series), and every time one is announced, we grouse and fume.
But the truth is, most of these projects will never see the light of day. Simply because something is being “developed” does not necessarily mean it will get a pilot, and getting a pilot is far from a guarantee that the show will be greenlit to series. I don’ know the exact numbers, but I would guess that there are probably 1000 series that that are pitched to the networks each year, and of those, only 300-400 make it to the script stage, and of those, only 150 are made into pilots, and of those, only 40 are turned into actual series. So, there’s like a 5 percent chance of making it from the pitch stage to a greenlight (and after that, probably only a 20 percent chance of making it to a second season).
All of which is to say, our outrage over certain reboots is justified, but it’s also probably unnecessary. For every About a Boy or Hannibal, there are probably 10-20 reboots that never land on a network.
So, let’s take a very quick look at some of the reboots that have been announced in the last six weeks and there realitic chances of making it to air:
Lost in Space — Rebooted for CBS by the writers behind Dracula Untold. It will never make it beyond the pilot stage, if it even makes it that cr.
In the Heat of the Night — From The Help’s Tate Taylor for Showtime. Showtime has a pretty decent greenlight rate, but they did kill Kyle Chandler’s The Vatican series last year, so I’d give this a 50/50 shot.
Say Anything — Already dead.
In Good Company — Based on the Topher Grace film. For CBS. Josh Bycel and Jon Fenner (Happy Endings) are working it up with original screenwriter and director Paul Weitz. I don’t see enough in the premise to warrant a full series, and CBS is the stingiest network with greenlights. Maybe a 20 percent chance.
Problem Child — From Old School writer Scott Armstrong. I doubt it ever makes it to pilot.
The Illusionist — Former True Blood showrunner Mark Hudis is turning the old Ed Norton film into a series for The CW. I don’t see a 19th century set drama making it on that network. 10 percent chance.
Real Genius — Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison has enough clout to force a pilot, but there’s not enough brand recognition in the title to turn this into a successful work place sitcom. It’s killed after the pilot stage.
Uncle Buck — The families and John Hughes and John Candy are already objecting. It’ll never make it past the development stage.
Minority Report — Fox is working up a female-led sequel to the Spielberg feature film. I give this one about a 35 percent chance of being greenlit to series.
Supergirl — I just don’t see CBS successfully cracking the nut on this one, BUT it has a series commitment, so it will eventually air whether we like it or not.
School of Rock — For Nickelodeon? It doesn’t take much. This one makes it to air.
Big — Fox has purchased the rights to remake Big for the small screen from the guys behind Enlisted. It’ll probably be one of the best pilots around, which also probably means it’ll never get the greenlight.
Rush Hour — Bill Lawrence’s track record since Scrubs has not been great. Working with Brett Ratner won’t help. If they couldn’t get Beverly Hills Cop past the pilot stage, I don’t see anyone getting past the pilot stage with this one, either.
Twin Peaks — Oh, it’s definitely, definitely happening.