'MacGyver' Reboot, Dr. Phil Drama Land CBS Pilot Orders

Bringing the network's drama pilot haul to six — with two-thirds of them based on either IP or known brands.
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CBS is expanding its drama pilot offerings with a few familiar faces.

The network has officially greenlighted its pilot adaptation of MacGyver and ordered Bull, a drama based on the early career of talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw.

MacGyver is described as a reimagining of the Richard Dean Anderson-starring television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.

Originally written by R. Scott Gemmill (NCIS: LA), the new take hails from scribe Paul Downs Colaizzo (CBS pilot LFE from last season). Henry Winkler, who executive produced the original series, is on board to serve in the same capacity alongside James Wan's Atomic Monster head of production Michael Clear. Wan (Aquaman, Mortal Kombat, Saw) will exec produce and direct the pilot and would segue into TV with the project. The reboot landed at CBS in October with what sources say was a hefty put-pilot commitment. The drama, produced in-house at CBS Television Studios, comes as insiders say executives at the studio are high on bringing back a title from their library. 

The original MacGyver series ran for seven seasons and 139 episodes, spanning two TV movies on ABC in 1994. Producers Paramount Television attempted a spinoff series, Young MacGyver, starring Supernatural's Jared Padalecki, but that did not move forward.

MacGyver becomes the latest reboot in the works this pilot season. It joins CBS' Nancy Drew take Drew and movie redo Training Day as well as Fox's 24: Legacy — which features an entirely new cast and concept — and Prison Break continuation, on top of NBC's Cruel Intentions and Taken straight-to-series prequel as networks look to mine familiar IP and fan bases in a bid to cut through the increasingly cluttered scripted landscape.

As for Bull, the CBS Television Studios drama is based on the early career of McGraw and explores his days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time.

Paul Attanasio (House, Showtime's failed The Vatican pilot) will pen the script with McGraw. The duo also will executive produce alongside McGraw's Stage 29 Productions and the talk-show host's son, Jay McGraw, as well as Amblin Television's Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.

The McGraw pilot expands his relationship with CBS. He renewed his talk-show deal with CBS Television Distribution for an additional three years back in the fall, taking it through at least 2020. Dr. Phil has been the No. 1 daytime talk show since Oprah Winfrey's retirement.

The concept of Bull comes as ABC is also prepping legal drama Notorious, inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

For CBS, the pair of pilots brings its drama orders to six — with four of them based on either IP or proven brands. The network has Jason Katims medical drama Bunker Hill, legal soap Doubt (redeveloped from last season), Drew and the sequel to feature Training Day. CBS picked up nine dramas last season. This is Glenn Geller's first pilot season as head of the network.

Keep up with all the latest pickups, castings and eventual series orders with THR's handy guide to pilot season.

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