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NBC Buries 'Murder She Wrote' Reboot w/ Octavia Spencer Starring

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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octavia spencer

Unexpectedly, NBC has reportedly put its Octavia Spencer Murder, She Wrote reboot on ice, with plans to come up with another way to re-imagine the series. 

What that means exactly, and whether Spencer is out, we don't yet know.

It was in October 2013 when NBC announced that it was rebooting the Angela Lansbury detective drama series Murder She Wrote, with Octavia Spencer attached to star!

Alexandra Cunningham and David Janollari (Desperate Housewives) were to produce, with Cunningham also writing the script for the reimagining, which will follow Spencer as a hospital administrator who doubles as a detective enthusiast, who self-publishes her first mystery novel, which helps launch a more active career for her, as an investigator, assisting with real-life cases.

In the original, Angela Lansbury starred as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.

The series aired for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 on the CBS network. It inspired 4 TV movies and a spin-off series, The Law & Harry McGraw. It is one of the most successful and longest-running television shows in TV history, with close to 23 million viewers in its prime, and was a staple of its Sunday night lineup for a decade.

This would've been Octavia Spencer's first regular TV series role.

Angela Lansbury, who starred in the original, did call the reboot "a mistake," when the project was first announced, although she added that she had no hard feelings towards Spencer, suggesting that the network should essentially just leave the series alone, and come up with something fresh.

I doubt that Lansbury's disliking the idea is a reason why it's been scrapped. 

There's probably more to this story, so stay tuned...

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  • Donella | January 25, 2014 10:54 AMReply

    Oh gosh, if only Octavia Spencer had not announced that she would no longer play maid roles. I'd LOVE to see a new and original television series based upon the Blanche series by Barbara Neely. A maid uses her skills for detection to solve murders and crimes amongst the rich folk. Those books make me laugh so much and Spencer would do a good turn with the lead character.

  • jess | January 22, 2014 3:52 PMReply

    So the project is technically still alive. Doesn't sound like it's been "buried." Buried alive, maybe.

  • Akimbo | January 22, 2014 2:45 PMReply

    Who didn't see that coming? Murder She Wrote is not "edgy" or sexy enough for the current network TV climate. Hell, it's probably too dippy and basic for USA now that Monk is gone and Psych is elderly. If TVland or TBS ever wanted to get into the hourlong business, it could be a fit for them...or Lifetime.

  • dee | January 22, 2014 1:12 PMReply

    First off change the about being original instead of reboot another's idea and piggy back off successes of the past.

  • Ava | January 22, 2014 6:25 PM

    Probably the most sensible way to 're-imagine' the series.

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