Jim Rockford is coming back. NBC, Universal Media Studios and Steve Carell‘s Carousel Television have enlisted House creator/exec producer David Shore to oversee an update of the classic 1974-80 private eye series The Rockford Files. James Garner starred as the ex-con investigator in the series that also put Stephen J. Cannell on the map as a writer-producer.
Garner’s Emmy-winning portrayal of the ex-con private eye who lived in a trailer in Malibu turned Jim Rockford into one of series TV’s most indelible TV characters ever.
Shore, who knows a thing or two about creating indelible characters, told Variety that as a fan of the show himself, he’s well aware of how high the bar is set for the remake.
“It’s one of the shows that made me want to become a writer,” Shore said.
Shore said he intends to stick with the basic foundation of the show while moving it into the present day.
“What makes Rockford timeless is that he’s vulnerable, he’s flawed. He’s used to hustling and getting hustled,” Shore said. “Sometimes he’s a hero and sometimes he runs away.”
“The minute I heard this I said, ‘Let’s get it on for midseason’ … but we’re going to take our time and get it right,” said Angela Bromstad, president of primetime entertainment for NBC Entertainment and UMS. “We know that David has the right sensibility as a writer to take on this kind of big character.”
Like a lot of ‘70s shows, Rockford was a training ground for a series of future biz heavyweights including David Chase, Juanita Bartlett, Chas Floyd Johnson and actors Dennis Dugan and Tom Selleck. The supporting cast included Noah Beery Jr., Stuart Margolin, Joe Santos and Gretchen Corbett.