Nets ''Monkee'' around with updates on old shows -- Also coming to your town: new versions of ''Hunter,'' ''Hotel,'' and ''Mister Ed''

By Lynette Rice
Updated February 13, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
The Monkees: Henry Diltz/Corbis

Bea Arthur, call your agent: Several shows from TV’s past may get a second lease on life this fall. NBC — which has already ordered new episodes of the ’80s cop drama ”Hunter” to air on Saturdays this spring — is developing a modern-day ”Monkees” with ”American Idol” producer Simon Fuller. Fox has a remake of ”Mister Ed” in the works, UPN is working with Aaron Spelling on a new version of his ’80s hit ”Hotel,” and The WB wants to bring back yet another incarnation of ”Tarzan.”

Though it’s only in the script stage, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker is already singing a happy tune about ”The Monkees,” an updated version of the classic ’60s comedy that will chronicle the search for four young men who can sing, dance, and act goofy for the camera. (The gang may even recut ”I’m a Believer.”) ”Look at what’s going on in TV right now, with unscripted programming and musical talent,” says Zucker. ”’The Monkees’ combines all of that.”

As for the retro trend, Zucker is highest on ”Hunter,” which he decided to order after the Nov. 16 reunion movie pulled in 10.5 million viewers. ”The biggest mistake that happens with so many remakes is that they don’t have the actual stars. We have Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer, who you loved years ago.” To be fair, we don’t think it’s an option for Fox to get the original Mister Ed.