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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


We Are Getting a Murder, She Wrote Reboot With Octavia Spencer

NBC has agreed to a put pilot commitment on a reboot of Angela Lansbury‘s hugely popular and long running mystery series Murder, She Wrote. That means that we’re definitely seeing Octavia Spencer in the lead role some time soon.

With television development being the way it is, there’s usually not a guarantee that a show will actually air until after a pilot is produced and the network commits to a series. A put pilot, however is a distinctly different animal, and that’s what Deadline is calling Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari‘s new project, starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. The “put” part of a put pilot means that the network has agreed to air the pilot regardless of whether they pick it up for a series or pay some steep fees to the production studio that made it. It means that whatever Cunningham, Janollari, and Spencer produce, we’re very very likely to actually see it air.

And what will they produce? Deadline describes the Murder, She Wrote redo:

Described as a light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo, it follows a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel. Set in a day where sensational headlines inundate the news, this woman’s avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.

Bones and Fargo are some good names to drop, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a woman of color take the solo lead in a detective procedural, says the young fan of The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo that hides inside me. Apparently, the entire idea began with Octavia Spencer:

“I’ve always considered myself an armchair detective and in a recent meeting with [NBC Chairman] Bob Greenblatt, he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV. Naturally, I said ” J.B. Fletcher” meets “Colombo”… And here we are. I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Dave Janollari again, and Alex Cunningham a brilliant writer who shares my love for all things mysterious and Angela Lansbury.”

Lansbury herself was nominated for a lead actress Emmy for her work in every one of Murder, She Wrote‘s twelve seasons, but I can imagine Spencer filling the role admirably. And while Deadline doesn’t give a source for the info, they “hear” that Lansbury has been approached to appear in the adaptation. Either way, this is something that needs to be on television.

(via Deadline.)

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  • Anonymous

    I was super excited and then I saw it’s on NBC. So we should get about 3 episodes.

  • theghostofpinchy


  • Anonymous

    The crazy thing is, this show would probably get twice as big a CBS audience as anything NBC will be able to drum up. I was shocked that NBC beat them to a remake of Murder, She Wrote (although they seem to have the inside track as it is the property of Universal, NBC’s production arm, despite having previously aired on CBS).

    But let’s hope for the best…and then if they throw it on Fridays at 10 after repeats of some awful failure of a mid-season sitcom then we can riot.

  • Elizabeth Wells

    Two things:
    1) Why can’t I remember what Octavia Spencer has been in? Her face is familiar but her name is not…
    2) The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo was awesome! I’m glad someone else thought so :)

  • Anonymous

    Once again Cabot Cove will be the most dangerous place in America to live.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t tell, but I just got little hearts in my eyes.

    Related: I wonder how long it will be before someone remakes Remington Steele?

  • Shannon

    The Help was her big breakthrough for which she won an Oscar

  • Shannon
  • Anonymous

    WHAT! WHAT?!

    Ahem. I should calm myself, because updating RS as a half-hour comedy seems…bad? I’m conflicted! I am curious to see who’d be cast, though.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    I love Murder, She Wrote (I blame my grandmother), and Bones is my favorite show, so this is definitely striking the right vibe with me. Sign me up!

  • Cori Redford

    Somewhere in my youth —or childhood— I must have done something good.

  • Anonymous

    I hope they keep it in Maine!

  • Anonymous

    The first episode of the Ironside remake just came out. Nothing can surprise me anymore. -_-

  • Elias Algorithm

    I’m good with a new face but holy crap, a whole new person to investigate THE SAME PLACE in MAINE. Maybe drag in Stephen King.

  • Timely-Tardis lego

    I’ve just started getting into Murder she wrote, and a like it, so more Murder she wrote sounds good to me. I hope the original actress does make a small appearance though

  • Saraquill

    With the things Stephen King’s been doing to that state, I don’t think there’s enough people left.

  • Charlie

    I’m British and I’m pretty much terrified of Maine…

  • Maus Merryjest

    Yet another bad idea from NBC.

    The original show was fine, and let’s be honest— it’s going to be very hard to find good-level writing around nowadays to match the quality of the show. The original Murder She Wrote earned Lansbury 12 straight Emmy nominations and 10 Golden Globe mentions, and she won the Globe for the role four times. This wasn’t just a throwaway sitcom, and Lansbury’s characterization of Jessica Fletcher was the core of the show.

    I predict this show won’t survive its first season.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    It sounds like it would be interesting and I don’t mean to sound like I am voicing a complaint but…Isn’t she a little young for the role?

  • Anonymous

    If they get Angela Lansbury to play Jessica Fletcher and then use that to launch Octavia’s character then fans might not mind the new version.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, i don’t really see why they decided to do a reboot instead of just setting it in the continuity of the old series.
    Angela Lansbury still lives so they could have Jessica pass the metaphorical torch to the new protagonist in the pilot.
    It’s not a deal breaker: If the show is good i will probably watch it, but it’s a bit puzzlind.

  • Aeryl

    Sorry, but their governor is more scary than King could ever be.

  • Anonymous

    STEELE was, esp. after the 1st season, very much in the “dramedy” view, with some outright comedic episodes. I’m curious what tone it’ll take, but a mostly-funny STEELE sequel isn’t inherently out of tone.

  • Anonymous

    Ohhhh. Intriguing. Thanks for this, REMINGTON STEELE was a show I adored as a teen, and was a formative experience in many ways.

    Bronson had been mooting a remake/sequel for some time, starting towards the end of his Bond run. I could never suss out _how_; STEELE’s core friction comes from the lie-made-yummy-flesh that’s powered by Laura trying to escape the oppression around women’s roles in the 80s. Although that oppression still exists, it’s so different in scale that the lie, if continued, would make her a less sympathetic character to so many viewers.

    I’d really want to see what the tone of this series will be, and how they play out a female PI dealing with modern-day sexism — if at all. Also, how the male lead plays against her; the fact that Laura had power over Steele for most of the series was an interesting inversion of the norm around gender relations in media…

  • Elizabeth Wells


  • Giuseppe

    Hasn’t NBC learned their lesson yet. They just came out with “Ironside”, then cancelled it. Just within a few years ago, they came out with “The Bionic Woman” and “Knight Rider”. Personally I would rather see them come out with good but short-lived shows like “Banacek”, “The Adventures of Ellery Queen”, both former NBC shows that really like.

  • Michael Scott

    I love Octavia Spencer but, if ‘Ironside’ was any indication of what is going on there at NBC with a black lead themed show, then she would better off taking this show to another channel so that might last longer than 4 episodes like Blair Underwood and ‘Ironside’ did.

  • Melynda

    Yay another procedural… And a reboot too. They couldn’t just think up something new?

  • Anonymous

    Have Octavia’s character be someone who idolized Jessica Fletcher as a kid. She grew up on her books and it was part of what not only inspired her to be a doctor, but what gave her the courage to publish a book of her own. She could have gone on to more prestigious hospitals, but chose to come to (or stay in) Cabot Cove because of her Cherished Childhood Memories. Her dreams have become a bit tarnished thanks to the harshness of reality, but she still maintains a fading sense of hopeful optimism.

    Pilot ep would feature a strange case that comes in that presents as one thing, but Octavia has suspicions about it. She happens to bump into the Legendary Jessica Fletcher and through innocuous conversation finds her investigative impulses fired up. She decides to pursue her hunch, which is when she runs up against the sheriff or some high-ranking detective type. Personalities clash (as they always do in situations like this) but eventually they get to the bottom of the case and solve the crime.

    Kind of a cliched set-up, but I think I’d rather have that than trying to rewrite Lansbury’s legacy. I’m still very leery of Octavia’s character being stuck as a first-time self-pubbed author since that doesn’t give her the sort of authority/gravitas the character would need to bully her way into investigations and being self-pubbed in particular makes it sound like she isn’t good enough to be published by a “legitimate” company, which further weakens her credentials. Hopefully the producers are planning to work that angle to the character’s best advantage, but I don’t have a lot of trust right now. For Octavia’s sake, though, I hope the show does well.

  • Anonymous

    The murder rate there rivals Detroit.

  • Anonymous

    Nooooo! Octavia Spencer gets a tv show and it’s going to be another dumb procedural that will last 10 episodes? Why?? (is it the same curse that has Allison Janney in all the wrong sitcoms and make her skip on great parts even after she shot the pilot?)

  • KA

    It may not if done properly. Octavia Spencer’s character might do better not as a hospital administrator, but as a blogger who also writes mysteries. Here’s some real-life inspiration: