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'The Rockford Files' and 'Prime Suspect': Don't look for them on NBC's midseason lineup

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prime-suspect-rockford-filesImage Credit: Everett CollectionIf Hawaii Five-0 has proven anything, it’s that reboots can work if they involve the right writers and stars (thank goodness for Scott Caan as Danno). Too bad NBC didn’t strike while the iron was hot: Though its reboots of The Rockford Files and Prime Suspect generated a lot of interest before the May upfronts, both projects remain in development hell and aren’t likely to resurface until next season (at least).

An NBC insider confirmed that both dramas are being re-developed but neither are up for mid-season consideration at this time (the network has yet to see new scripts, either). NBC shot a Files pilot last spring that featured Dermot Mulroney as Jim Rockford, but it didn’t make the cut. As one source bemoaned to NYMag.com’s Joe Adalian, “It looked like it was shot in the ’70s. You didn’t even know it was the current day until Jim pulled out his cell phone.” Peter Berg’s Film 44 has since taken over the project with plans to start fresh, such as finding a new Rockford. EW’s Michael Ausiello reported in August that Lost’s Josh Holloway was a “viable choice” to take over the marquee role but writer David Shore said “it’s too premature to name names.” Still, fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, Berg will also shepherd NBC’s reboot of Prime Suspect, the British police procedural drama from the ’90s that starred Helen Mirren. That project never made it to pilot for a number of reasons, including NBC’s inability to find someone to play the very demanding role of Det. Jane Tennison. (Memo to Berg: Just hire your Friday Nights Lights leading lady Connie Britton and be done with it!).

Meanwhile, CBS continues to have the last laugh with its reboot of 5-0, which still ranks as the most watched new show of the 2010-11 season with 14.2 million viewers. The producers are definitely embracing the notion that they were inspired by a classic: Showrunner Peter Lenkov told EW that it remains a goal to persuade James MacArthur — aka “Danno” on the series that first aired from 1968 to 1980 — to make a cameo on the CBS drama. He also wants to lure Al Harrington, who played Det. Ben Kokua on the original series from 1969 to 1975. Both he and MacArthur are now in their 70s.

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