The Lone Ranger: Carol Kaelson
January 16, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Westward, no! While a hip remake of ”The Lone Ranger” will air on The WB, it’s unlikely to go to series as previously planned. With a projected cost of $2.5 million per episode (from $500,000 to $1 million more than a ”Smallville” episode), the tale of a young masked cowboy (”Dawson’s Creek”’s Chad Murray) and his Native American sidekick (”American Outlaws”’ Nathaniel Arcand) proved too pricey for the net, so it’ll air as a two-hour movie on Feb. 26 instead. ”You have to rent Western towns, and they are few and far between,” says exec producer Susanne Daniels of the exorbitant costs. ”And you need a lot of horses and extras to fill up a Western town. It’s an enormous undertaking.” The WB may change its mind if the ”Ranger” movie corrals an audience; meanwhile, NBC and TNT have expressed interest in creating their own take on the franchise, but no deal’s been made. ”There’s certainly a place for a sexy Western on network TV,” says Daniels.

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