CBS rebooting 'The Rifleman' with 'Harry Potter' director Chris Columbus
TV’s land rush to launch the next great Western continues with CBS making a deal to reboot TV classic The Rifleman.
Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, NBC’s The Bionic Woman) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) have made a script deal with the network to attempt to re-launch the series. Plus, Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is on board to direct the first episode should the project receive a pilot order.
The Rifleman (1956-63) was considered one of the cooler titles from broadcast TV’s Western heyday. The original ABC series was created by Sam Peckinpah (long before he went on to direct violent classics like The Wild Bunch). The show starred Chuck Connors as homesteader Lucas McCain who dispatched bad guys with a modified rapid-fire Winchester.
AMC drew a fairly large audience with the premiere of post-Civil War drama Hell on Wheels on Sunday night, but the Big Four broadcast networks have yet to move forward with a Western project in recent years despite several titles being developed. If any network can pull it off, crime-drama-heavy CBS seems like a good fit — Westerns are an older-skewing genre that lends itself to a crisis-of-the-week format.