Chris Columbus to Reboot Western 'The Rifleman' at CBS

Chris Columbus
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The CBS Studios project, which will count Mendelsohn as an executive producer, continues the small screen's love affair with westerns.

CBS is looking to revive The Rifleman with Harry Potter director Chris Columbus.

The project, which hails from Carol Mendelsohn Prods. in association with CBS Television Studios, is based on the 1958 classic western series of the same name. The effort will center on Civil War hero Lucas McCain, an unparalleled sharpshooter with a haunted past, who moves to the uncharted New Mexico territory to raise his son Mark. There, he joins forces with the Sheriff to protect his new town and become its unofficial guardian.

The script order is further evidence of TV's current love affair with the western genre. In addition to AMC's Hell on Wheels, which opened to an impressive 4.4 million viewers Sunday, TNT is prepping Gateway while the networks continue to add projects to their development coffers.

Proof: ABC has nabbed Gunslinger from David Zabel (Detroit 1-8-7) and Hangtown, a procedural pitch set in the Wild West, from Battlestar Galactica mastermind Ron Moore. CBS and author Nicholas Pileggi (Good Fellas) are preparing Ralph Lamb, based on the 1960s adventures of a real-life cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff, while NBC has ordered a script for Shaun Cassidy's 1840s-set The Frontier.

Columbus (Stepmom, Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone), who recently inked a three for one deal with CBS, is attached to executive produce and direct the Rifleman reboot, with Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier on board as writers and EPs. Joining them as executive producers are Julie Weitz and CSI's Mendelsohn, for whom this project marks a sixth network sale this development season.

Original producer Arthur Gardner and his son Steven as well as original proudcer Jules Levy's son Robert will also serve as producers on the project. 

The deal was brokered by WME and Dan Black at Greenberg Traurig.

Twitter: @LaceyVRose