1:21pm PT by Kate Stanhope, Lesley Goldberg
Lucy Lawless on 'Xena' Reboot: "I Know That NBC Wants to Do It"
Updated 3:55 p.m.: Sources confirm to THR that there is still in fact a deal in place for NBC to reboot Xena. Lawless, as THR originally reported, does not have a deal though sources indicate NBC would like her to be involved. As of press time, Tapert and Raimi are the only ones attached to the NBC reboot, which is still in the early development stages.
Previous, 1:21 p.m.:
Lucy Lawless opened up about a potential Xena reboot at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Friday.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news on July 20 that NBC and NBC International are developing a modern reboot with original executive producers Sam Raimi and co-creator Rob Tapert, who is also married to Lawless. The project is being eyed for 2016 and producers are currently looking for a writer.
Soon after the news broke, Lawless denied the report on Twitter. (THR stands by its earlier reporting that there is a deal in place.)
Sorry, friends! news of a #Xena reboot is just a rumor. I'd love it to happen one day but it's still in the wishful thinking stage.
— Lucy Lawless (@RealLucyLawless) July 20, 2015
However, Lawless briefly seemed to change her tune when asked about the possibility. "I do not know. We've had such an issue," she said. "My husband was saying, 'Why did you say that?!' "
Lawless is currently working on another revival — Ash vs. Evil Dead — with original star Bruce Campbell, whose Renaissance Pictures, coincidentally, produced Xena. "I went into Bruce's trailer, and went, 'Oh my God, Bruce! I'm in trouble. Its trending on Twitter,' " said Lawless.
Asked again about the possible reboot after the Ash vs. Evil Dead panel, Lawless denied that she, Tapert or Raimi are involved. "There was a conversation a year ago that Rob was involved in but that didn’t happen," said Lawless. "If there's anything current going on, we're not involved."
However, she did acknowledge the network's enthusiasm for a potential revival. "They could be doing it without us. They have the right to, don’t they?" she said. "I'd love to see it happen, and I know that NBC wants to do it but they're just trying to find a way and a time."
Lawless noted that when Xena and Hercules first debuted, it was a very different TV landscape, with fewer networks and far fewer — if any — fantasy series. "The ground was ripe," she said.
Now, the playing field is crowded thanks to the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones. "I think that is part of what's considered a hindrance is that the marketplace — how do you make it appointment television given the way that people watch these days? We used to get millions of people watching syndicated television, but now the audience is all over," said Lawless. "It's spread out in a way that's much harder to capture."
Lawless, who was reportedly not attached to the reboot in development at NBC, rebuffed the idea of reprising the title role. "I actually couldn’t do it. I'm 47, but there's somebody great out there," she said.
"People still want that core friendship and I think whenever they reboot it, they have to get two women who really like and respect [each other] … to carry that mantle. In whatever world you set it in, I think the friendship is what they're underestimating."
Revisiting known franchises has been wildly popular on the small screen. Fox's 24 returned in 2014 for a limited run. Coach and The X-Files will return to NBC and Fox, respectively, in midseason. As Campbell put it, "TV shows used to age like fish, but not anymore."