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Don Johnson is heading back to San Francisco.
Eighteen years after Nash Bridges signed off following a six-season run on CBS, NBCUniversal-owned cabler USA Network and IP owner Village Roadshow are teaming with the actor for a revival.
Johnson is set to reprise his role running San Francisco’s Special Investigation Unit in what sources say is a two-hour TV special. Sources note that while the project is in its early development stages, Village Roadshow hopes that the special serves as a back-door pilot of sorts for a broader drama series.
Representatives for USA Network declined comment.
The revival will pick up with Nash Bridges, circa 2020, still running San Francisco’s SIU and confronting a changing city, a new boss and a world in which police work focuses on modern data-crunching and predictive policing. Although the world around him has changed, Nash hasn’t.
Bill Chais (The Practice, Shark, Franklin & Bash, Bull) and Johnson will co-create the special. Johnson, Chais and Marc Rosen (Sense8) will executive produce.
Johnson is currently the only castmember attached. It’s unclear if any other former stars from the CBS take — including Cheech Marin, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe and Jeff Perry — will return for the revival. Village Roadshow-based Rysher Entertainment owns the rights to the show with the former company controlling the library.
News of the revival arrives a year after creator Carlton Cuse and his former all-star team of writers/exec producers — Glen Mazzara, Shawn Ryan, John Wirth and Pam Veasey — reunited last year at the ATX Television Festival to share the origins of the series. Cuse noted that former CBS boss Les Moonves had signed Johnson to a talent deal and approached Cuse to create a series for the former Miami Vice star. The result was the cop drama Nash Bridges. (Listen to that panel discussion here.) Cuse is not attached to the revival, as he has an overall deal with Disney-owned ABC Studios.
As for Village Roadshow, Nash Bridges is part of the company’s larger plan to mine its content library and reimagine those titles. That strategy is employed across the TV and film landscape as media companies of all sizes look to revitalize library titles and cut through the clutter with revivals/reboots/spinoffs. This also helps increase the value of original catalogs at a time when library content like Friends and The Office are fetching top dollar as legacy media companies prepare to launch streaming services to rival Netflix and boost their bottom lines.
Village Roadshow, overseen by former Sony chief Steve Mosko, recently acquired the film and TV rights based on the popular video game Myst. The company also has the Joaquin Phoenix-starrer Joker due in October from Warner Bros.
Meanwhile, USA Network will say farewell to a pair of hit shows this year: Suits and Mr. Robot. The cabler’s scripted roster includes Suits spinoff Pearson, Queen of the South, Bourne spinoff Treadstone, anthology The Sinner, Briarpatch, Dare Me, Brave New World and Bravo import Dirty John.
Chais is repped by the Shuman Company. Johnson, who next stars on HBO’s Watchmen, is repped by CAA.
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