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Is It Too Late to Get Sawyer on the New "Rockford Files"?

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 13, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 13, 2010 |

The folks over at Vulture have an interesting look into the apparently disastrous pilot of “Rockford Files,” which was rebooted for NBC and was expected to be the network’s savior next year. Somebody apparently forgot to tell the pilot’s director, however.

Indeed, given the pedigree associated with “The Rockford Files,” reboot — Steve Carell is producing, along with David Shore, the executive producer of “House” — it seemed like a sure bet. According to Vulture, though, Carell and Shore’s involvement is the only thing that’s even given its chances to make the fall lineup a glimmer of hope. Apparently, the pilot was more “rehash than reinvention” and Durmot Mulroney’s take on the character was — like the pilot — flat and uninspired. A lot of that blame is falling on the pilot director, Michael Watkins, who created an episode that “looked like Stephen J. Cannell directed it himself.”

At this point, it looks like either NBC will pass on “The Rockford Files,” or it will need some serious reworking. One person has even suggested recasting James Rockford, putting forward “Lost’s” Josh Holloway’s name, a suggestion echoed by one of our readers, Mebe, months ago. He does, after all, have a good take on his cop character in “Lost,” and with that show leaving the air, it may be the only way anyone’s going to get their Sawyer shirtless fix for a while. But then again, it’d be awfully hard — especially this soon after the end of “Lost” — to separate Holloway from his Sawyer character, and if the “Lost” finale doesn’t please its fans, many may direct some of that ill will at Holloway, should he miraculously come aboard.

It’s not popular to actually entertain the possibility that a remake of a television show could work (after all, “Knight Rider” was a disaster), but there wasn’t a lot to the premise of “The Rockford Files,” and it’d be easy to adapt — it’s just another cop show, really. The magic of the original was in James Garner, but there’s no reason to believe that the right actor couldn’t duplicate it. It’s just too bad Timothy Olyphant is already taken.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.