'Lethal Weapon,' 'MacGyver,' Other Reboots Generate Heat at L.A. Screenings

Richard Foreman/FOX
'Lethal Weapon'

Familiar titles rule as international buyers hope Fox’s '24: Legacy' is the next '24.'

When 1,600-plus foreign buyers convened in Los Angeles for this year's International Screenings, familiar fare was on display. The broadcast networks offered up slates packed with reboots, spinoffs and other series based on existing IP that generated big buzz.

From two high-profile Fox revivals to a big-swing film adaptation from Warner Bros., the top titles of the week reflect a nostalgia among TV buyers:

Lethal Weapon (Warner Bros. TV)

The remake of the 1987 film emerged as a favorite among the foreign buyers in L.A. in late May. The appeal, per Warners' worldwide TV distribution president Jeffrey Schlesinger: "It's a well-known franchise, it's got action, it's got heart, it's not heavily serialized and it's repeatable. It hits the bull's-eye on every level."

This Is Us (20th Century Fox TV)

Dan Fogelman's NBC dramedy is the only original concept to generate the buzz of the reboots and spinoffs. "It emotionally sucks you in within the first five minutes, and you suddenly care about these people," says German buyer Rudiger Boss. "It's like Love Actually without the Christmas theme."

24: Legacy (20th TV)

Despite initial concerns about a Kiefer Sutherland-less 24, new star Corey Hawkins impressed buyers. Says 20th international TV president Marion Edwards of the terrorism drama's allure: "All the clients have said, 'Gosh, it feels so current and so universal. These are issues that people are worried about.' "

MacGyver (CBS Studios)

The pilot is being retooled, but that didn't faze buyers, who saw a 20-minute cutdown and were drawn to the title. "Say 'MacGyver' to a French or German person and everybody knows it, so there's an automatic interest," says CBS Global Distribution Group CEO Armando Nunez.

Prison Break (20th TV)

The Wentworth Miller drama already is a proven commodity abroad, particularly in locales like France. Notes Edwards, "It's a show about brothers, and that really resonates with people."

A version of this story first appeared in the June 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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