Damon Wayans Sr. to Star in Fox's 'Lethal Weapon' Pilot

The 'In Living Color' alum will take on the role originated by Danny Glover in the drama, which has now officially been picked up to pilot, with McG directing.
Getty Images; Courtesy of Photofest

Lethal Weapon is kicking into high gear.

Following a prolonged dealmaking process, the network has tapped Damon Wayans Sr. to star as Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, lifting the cast contingency on the drama and clearing the way for its formal pilot pickup on Friday. 
 
Based on the feature film franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, the reboot — which counted NBC as a bidder — hails from Warner Bros. Television, whose sister film division, Warner Bros. Pictures, produced the original movies. Here's the formal logline: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to Los Angeles to start anew. There, he gets partnered with LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a "minor" heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life. Wayans will take over the role of Roger. Gibson's role has not yet been cast.

Fox's reboot hails from Matt Miller (Chuck, Forever), who will executive produce via his WBTV-based Good Session banner. Lin Pictures' Dan Lin (The Lego Movie) and Jennifer Gwartz also will exec produce. Lethal Weapon reunites Miller with Lin, who teamed for last year's ABC drama Forever, which was canceled after one season. McG will direct the pilot, which marks a reunion for the helmer and Miller after the duo previously teamed on NBC's Chuck.

Fox gave a hefty put-pilot commitment to the project in October following a competitive situation. Lethal Weapon is one of multiple movie remakes in the works this pilot season. Fox is also prepping a modern reinvention of The Exorcist and passed on its Urban Cowboy take; CBS is prepping a new version of Nancy Drew and a reimagining of Training Day; and NBC has a sequel to Cruel Intentions as well as a Taken prequel ordered straight to series. Reboots continue to be in high demand as broadcast (as well as cable and streamers) look for proven brands in a bid to break through an increasingly competitive scripted landscape. Key to the reboots is having the original producers involved, which for Fox's Lethal Weapon is not the case. However, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the original filmmakers have blessed the TV reboot, though they will not be credited on the drama.

Lethal Weapon originally opened in 1987 and grossed $120 million worldwide. It spawned three sequels, which grossed a combined $835 million worldwide.

The casting marks a homecoming for Wayans, who starred on and wrote for Fox's popular sketch show In Living Color for four years. He went on to star in and exec produced the ABC family comedy My Wife and Kids, which also ran for four years. Wayans' most recent TV role was on an episode of Happy Endings in 2011. He is repped by ICM Partners and Kleinberg Lange.

Keep up with all the latest pilot news with THR's handy guide to pilot season.

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