NBC SIGNS ‘MAGNUM’ FOR 2 SEASONS

CBS’ “Magnum P.I.,” which filmed four seasons in Hawaii but was canceled by the network in May, has found a new home at NBC, and has been assured of at least two more seasons, with options for more.

The life-saving story, revealed a day ago — and 49 days after CBS canceled the sleuth-in-a-red Ferrari show —  includes a renewal program over two years but with a vastly reduced 20-episode deal, or 10 per season, half of the customary 20-plus single year timetable .

And because the lateness of the decision by NBC, production cannot begin till this fall, and a programming slot won’t be known till 2023.

A tangle of discussions apparently were held to rescue the popular show, featuring Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum, and his colleague Julia Higgins, portrayed by Perdita Weeks. “Magnum” has maintained a respectable ratings record in its primetime Friday slot, preceding CBS’ “‘Blue Bloods,” ironically starring Tom Selleck, the original “Magnum” back in the day. The reboot’s numbers — 7.338 million viewers per episode, according to Nielsen – means it ranked 30th out of 151 Big 4 broadcast programs over the recently-wrapped September-to-May season. “Magnum” also was tied for 56th in the desired adults 18-49 demo (a 0.7 rating), aligned with shows like “Shark Tank,” “The Resident,” and “Law & Order.”

Perdita Weeks as Higgins, Jay Hernandez as Magnum: Two-year-renewal on NBC.

When keep-it or kill-it season neared, the apparent key issue of friction was the licensing fee – “the biggest sticking point,” as expressed by IndieWire. The rights to the show were owned by NBCUniversal’s Universal Television. Earlier talks about the fate of “Magnum” mentioned that NBC and its streaming wing, Peacock, would be the ultimate destination..

Amy Hill

Hernandez might have had some inside knowledge that a pick-up was coming, later than sooner, so he signed on to filming this summer of an indie film, “The Long Game.” He’ll still be able to complete that mission.

Amy Hill, who plays Teuila Tuileta, aka Kumu, on “Magnum,” is said to have two film projects this summer, that also will be completed before the fall shooting of the show agenda under new call letters. Presumably, cast members can sign on to projects when filming is not under way.

Clearly, when the filming begins, NBC can begin its storytelling at the point of the CBS ending, when Magnum and Higgins kissed and cooed and made certain an element of romance would be part of their relationship in the future. But the axe fell, when CBS didn’t renew, so NBC can now strut its peacock feathers when the new era of “Magnum” begins. …

‘All Rise’ moves to OWN

Another CBS series, “All Rise,” was not renewed by CBS after two seasons, but it found a new home at the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Ruthie Ann Miles

Season three, thus is under way, with Simone Missick, back in court as Judge Lola Carmichael, who also serves as an exec producer of the show. Of particular interest to Islanders, however, is that a co-star on the show, played by Tony-winning actress from Kaimuki High School, Ruthie Ann Miles, who continues as Lola’s assistant Sherri Kansky. She has been a Broadway musical theater star, earning a Tony for her featured supporting role in “The King and I,” but also is known for portraying Imelda Marcus in an off-Broadway musical, “Here Lies Love,” which earned her the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical f

And that’s Show Biz. …

‘DKMD’ SIGNS MEAN DOOGIE’S BACK

If you spot a temporary yellow street sign which says “DKMD,” with arrows pointing left or right, it’s the first clue that Season 2 filming has begun for Disney+’s Hawaii-based “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” series, starring Peyton Elizabeth Lee, as the minor who has a major youth presence as a licensed doctor at a hospital.

Peyton Elizabeth Lee

About the tell-tale directional sign: DK stands for Doogie Kamealoha, MD is for medical doctor. The code name, thus, is DKMD, and if you spot it somewhere in your community, that’s an indication that shooting is under way nearby. Follow the arrows.

The first evidence of the sign appearance was in May in Waimanalo, where the TV home of Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha lives, the teen who leads two lives: as a teen with peer needs, as an MD who can perform surgery. It’s a wholly Disneyesque project, for sure, with meaningful and plenty ‘ohana rituals. ‘Ohana, of course, means family, which was the core of Stitch, in Disney’s earlier Hawaii-set “Lilo and Stitch” animated series and films.

Like the sophomore first season, “Doogie” will film 10 episodes with production expected to continue till mid-August, or thereabout. Season 2 episodes will launch in the fall.

The series, created by Kourtney Kang (who also is an executive producer), is a reboot of Neil Patrick Harris’ “Doogie Houser, M.D.” The island version has a credible cast, including Jason Scott Lee, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Matthew Sato, Wes Tian,Emma Meisel, Mapuana Makie, Jeffrey. Bowyer Chapman, Ronnie Chieng, and Alex Aiono. Expect a few additions this year….

Around town…

Lacey Chabert

Lacey Chabert, who played Little Cossette in “Les Miserables” on Broadway, before becoming part of the cast of “Party of Five” on Fox, has become a hugely popular Hallmark star with nearly 30 projects thus far. She’s been in town filming “Groundswell,” under the Crown MediaFamily Network banner (the company produces the Hallmark projects, too).

And local singer Anuhea plays herself – as a “celebrity host,” — in a segment involving a cooking competition. …

Then there’s Blake Vanamserfoorth formerly from Hawaii but now a Venice Beach resident who launched his own clothing brand — will be seen in “Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love,” airing beginning June 9 via WOW Presents Plus, a streaming service. The reality dating show, reeling back the curtain on gay romance quests, is produced by the makers of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Vanamserfoorth is a contestant on the series, which will feature conversations about sex positivity and other topics within the gay dating community.

In his pre-airing notes, Vanamserfoorth indicates his intent is to find a date who makes him laugh and isn’t afraid to voice his opinion, a companion who loves to dress up and go to parties. Game on! …

And that’s Show Biz. …

ENDINGS MATTER, SO WHAT GIVES?

There’s a blurry haze surrounding the fate of “Tokyo Vice,” a gritty HBO Max cop drama set in the seedy underworld of the yakuza of Japan. Will it have a second season? It depends on what you’re reading or hearing. NA (not available) is what’s listed on one website regarding future episodes, but Wikipedia states a logical reason to the mystery: that the show was shut down because of the Covid-19 impact in Japan.

Thus, the never or next issue is still playing out on social media.

The logical indication is, however, that it’s sayonara for the mysterious but engaging 1990s story about a gaijin (foreigner), Jake Adelstein (impressively played by
Ansel Elgort) seeking fame and credibility, working as a novice crime reporter in constant communication with his seasoned mentor, Hiroto Katagiri (superbly played by Ken Watanabe). Adelstein is a real-life cop reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun, who wrote the memoir on which the series was based.

The eighth and final episode ended without the customary to-be-continued notion of a second season, nor an indicator that future life awaits, particularly because of the unfinished business portrayed so far. Awkward!

Alnsel Elgort is Jake Adelstein, Ken Watanabe is Hiroto Kakigiri in “Tokyo Vice.”

It matches the clumsy uncertainty regarding CBS’ “Magnum P.I.,” the domestic procedural which aired its final episode Friday (May 13), following weeks of hopeful wonderment of a fifth season. The episode concluded with shared “I like you” admissions from both Thomas Magnum (Jay Herandez) and Juliet Higgins (Perdita Weeks), likely intended for a sequel that is now impossible. CBS has axed the show. It’s history. Pau.

These two shows – one streaming, the other on prime time TV– represent worst case scenarios of halting ongoing storylines without a proper conclusion. It’s an unexpected slap in the face –  Will Smith, anyone? — on the fan base of dedicated viewers.

Tokyo’s expansive dark alleys and neon signage art have become kind of a “character” of a city with hoods killing clients if they don’t fess up “protection” fees. With so many loose threads, the abrupt ending suggests that all concerned expected a second-season pick-up to sort out the tangles.

Instead, the series concluded with loose, tangled, even bloodied plot strings hanging in the air. Will HBO Max reconsider? Can the show be picked up and streamed elsewhere? No answers here.

The anticipation, and axing, equals the recent undeserving dismissal of CBS’ filmed-in-Hawaii “Magnum,” begging a question: Where are the ethics of the TV industry, which builds up its storylines and yet when push comes to shove, they simply shut down, and call it quits with no lifelines to explore. Literally, diehard followers are left hanging, and they deserve better.

Perhaps the rebooted “Magnum” – a far better procedural than the earlier reboot but canceled “Hawaii Five-O” – had become a victim of too much of the same thing, particularly since CBS’ other brand, “NCIS,” added a colon and an okina to its “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” which was green-lighted for a second season this fall and thus grabbed the next-season ticket despite being a freshman show.  The scenics were postcard-pretty on all the island procedurals; “Magnum” seemed to have become the victim of this- too-much-ness, despite its good but not great ratings. There had been talks earlier of a “Five-O” and “Magnum” crossover, but realistically, that was an odd idea. Brands shouldn’t mix;  like, Starbucks wouldn’t and shouldn’t partner up with Dunkin.’

Perdita Weeks is Juliet Higgins, Jay Hernandez is Thomas Magnum in “Magnum P.I.”

The “NCIS” original, minus Mark Harmon, did a crossover with its “Hawai‘i” sister towards the end of the island show’s first season, so it was a workable same-brand handshake.

Methinks scripts must be logical, with crossosvers.  Think of NBC’s “Chicago” brand with its “Medm” “Fire,” and “P.D.” on Wednesday nights, jammed with operations, fires and thugs, providing fictional fireworks for the Windy City first-responders. Firefighters appear on the hospital show; cops pop up, too, and yes, there are crossovers galore. But the franchise skillfully shares characters, when plotlines warrant the give-and-take.

Similarly, the CBS trio of  back-to-back “FBI” shows on Tuesdays, is ladened with exciting characters tackling current plots that embrace kidnapping, drugs, and gangsters, using the model of “Chicago.”  Thus, judicious crossovers work with this brand, too.

On Thursdays, NBC’s original “Law and Order” has been rebooted and Sam Waterson as Jack McCoy is grappling for tenure again and is basically under utilized to regain his niche again. The long-running “Law and Order: SVU” with Sgt. Olivia Benson (the irrepressible Mariska Hargitay) as the boss trying to curb sexual assaults and crimes has had crossovers plus a spin-off. Thus, stability and durability is working in this camp.

“Law and Order: Organized Crime” still needs fine-tuning, to give  Elliot  Stabler (Christopher Meloni, from the SVU roster earlier) more juice since he’s fumbling to find footing and viewership.

But back to “Tokyo Vice.” It warrants a second season, to clean up some bloodshed, and work out not just the fate of Alderstein but the denizens of characters. Spoilers alert here, if you’re still midway through viewing the show: Will Samantha (Rachel Keller) find her fellow bar hostess, Polina (Ella Rumpf), who has been captured by her boyfriend and taken Samantha’s lifesavings, too? Will Sato (Sho Kasamatsu), survive the dangers  and trappings of his yakuza lords?  Will Katagiri-san’s wife and children dodge the yakuza’s threats of murder. Will Eimi (Rinko Kikuchi), the newspaper editor, finally find faith and trust in her cub reporter Adelstein and assist him with a foothold? Much to chew in this unfinished stew.

Yet it’s been a splendid, unexpected thriller with its fish-out-of-water central figure, in a dangerous  situation with constant threats as he paddles in this uncertain underworld to help curb crime.

Elgort: He learned Japanese phonetically.

If there’s a takeaway, even if there’s no final closure on “Tokyo Vice,” it might be this: watching and hearing Elgort utter his lines in Nihongo is a treat; he memorized his lines phonetically and this accomplishment makes him one of the most unheralded, unappreciated figures in dual-language serials.

As for the “Magnum” playout, there’s a sweeter outlook. At least Magnum’s got his car and Higgins has her mansion. And Hernandez, on social media, was philosophical in his response to the show’s demise.”All good things must come to an end,” he said. “We made memories I’ll be forever grateful for and thanks to each and every one of you for going on this wild ride with us,” he said.”It’s all love. Until next time.”

Now, that’s a sentimental and warm expression of aloha. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

NO SEASON 5 FOR ‘MAGNUM P.I.’

CBS finally let the cat out of the bag and the message was somewhat of a surprise: No more than four.

Alas, “Magnum P.I.” – waiting for weeks for a green light – was shown the red/stop light yesterday (May 11) that a fifth season, which would have launched filming this summer, is off the books.

Thus, the May 6 episode – with co-stars Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum and Perdita Weeks as Juliet Higgins, exchaging smitten  “I like you” sentiments after kissing each other – was the season’s finale and the series’ ending.

Perdita Weeks and Jay Hernandez of “Magnum P.I.”

The cast has reason to be disappointed, perhaps the viewing fan base more so. The reboot of the original Tom Selleck-led procedural was far more popular, sustaining a 8-year run in the height of Hollywood discovering and setting up anchor to film episodic shows that depicted the sun, surf, and lifestyle – plus the rampant crime in paradise – that viewers all over the world watched. The foundation then was set by the Jack Lord-era of “Hawaii Five-0,” the first episodic crime-in-paradise CBS shot here, which lasted for 12 seasons.

The “Magnum” reboot originally was a Monday night show but shifted to a better night Friday before the shutdown. Ratings were pretty good – not great— dipping down to 7.4 million viewers and a 0.7 demographics rating in season 4, a skosh below numbers during Season 3. In recent years, ratings and demos no longer seemed as important or relevant during earlier decades, when the demos, based on advertising rates – the higher the demo ranking, the more it would cost for primetime ads — mattered more.

CBS still has one other island show, “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” which completed its first year of production, and the show, led by Vanessa Lachey as lead agent Jane Tennant, recently earned its season 2 go-ahead, with filming set for this summer for the fall season. Thus, the NCIS brand apparently still has life and luster.

Robbie Magasiva

Other shows aiming cameras here include Disney* “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” starring Perton Elizabeth Lee. and Jason Scott Lee, with season 2 filming set this summer;  and  HBO Max’s “Kenui Road,” a lifeguard lifestyle drama written and directed by John Wells and set on the North Shore with principals Robbie Magasiva, Andrew Creer and Tessa de Josselin, which has  a pilot in the can with air date not yet set. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

‘DOOGIE’ TO GET NEW REGULARS

“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” the Hawaii-lensed medical series, is expected to begin filming its second season May 16, with production on 10 episodes continuing through Aug. 23.

The series, focusing on Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, a 16-year-old prodigy portrayed by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, happens to have dual careers, as a medical doctor and teen-ager, whose roles conflict and provide both tension and comedy.

The sophomore season is reportedly introducing yet-unnamed recurring characters, including Blake, Ellis and Billy, to join the cast:

  • Blake is an Australian female, 20, who is athletic, gorgeous, a surfer on a pro tour and the expected roommate of Doogie’s love interest, Walter.
  • Ellis (first name, Marjorie), a female who may be of any ethnicity between 40 and 60,  who is shrewd, critical and an expected antagonist, in the role of a member of the hospital’s board of directors.
  • Billy, a child between 9 and 12, has the innocence and sweetness of youth, to be featured in a storyline involving a dog named Pickles, who is injured and whose owners can’t afford a veterinarian for treatment, so Doogie gets involved.
The “Doogie” ohana: center, Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Doogie, with (left), Jason Scott Lee and Kathleen Rose Perkins as her dad and mom, and (right), West Tian and Matthew Sato as her brothers. Photo courtesy Disney.

The ongoing cast includes Jason Scott Lee, as Doogie’s father Benny, who operates a floral and shave ice truck; Kathleen Rose Perkins, as Dr. Clara Hannon, her mom and hospital supervisor; Matthew Sato as Kai, her older brother; Wes Tian, as her younger brother Brian Patrick;  Emma Meisel, as her best friend Steph Denisco; Alex Aiono as Walter Taumata, her teen crush; Ronny Chieng, as the hospital’s Dr. Lee;  Mapuana Makia  as Noelani, a hospital aide; and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, as Dr.Charles Zeller, an ally of Doogie.

Kourtney Kang is executive producer and creator of the series, based on CBS’ earlier hit, “Doogie Hoosier, M.D.,” which starred Neal Patrick Harris as the youth-teen doctor.

The names of the incoming actors have not been released. Meantime,

Season 1 of “Doogie Kamealoha” is streaming on Disney+.

The waiting game for ‘Magnum’

So Perdita Weeks, who is Julia Higgins, and Jay Hernandez, who is Thomas Magnum, have feelings for each other. On last night’s (May 6) final episode of CBS’ “Magnum P.I.,” he and she awkwardly but unexpectedly declared their love for each other, suggesting that their future together brings new bonds to the plate.

Love is in the air for Perdita Weeks (Higgins) and Jay Hernandez (Magnum). Photo, courtesy CBS.

So the die is cast.

But the cliffhanger is this: the network has not yet extended a Season 5 order, so the island-based story can continue. If the fall season does not happen, this would be one of the most abrupt and anxious way to say aloha, which in this case, is not hello, but goodbye.

Why? When? Go figure; a “go” is expected, but the tardiness is unsettling. Series star Hernandez has publicly stated he is unworried about the status, that an extension is forthcoming.

The show, now in its Friday night slot preceding the evening’s ratings champ, “Blue Bloods” (yeah, with the original Magnum, Tom Selleck), has been a steady ratings draw, holding its own but never bypassing “Blue,” which already has its 13  Season granted.

Can’t be that CBS has halted season orders for other shows; it just bestowed a Season 3 and 4 for Queen Latifa’s “The Equalizer,” a Sunday night hit. …

And that’s Show Biz. …