It’s the “$64,000 Question,” tapping the rhetoric of the 1950s TV game show: Why is CBS stalling and delaying the go-ahead green light for one of its top procedurals, “Magnum P.I.”?
Many other cop and investigative series on the network already have been renewed for a return this fall.
Not so for the “Magnum” camp. Season 4 is pau and in the can. No doubt, the cast is on standby, awaiting the go or no word.
But honestly, Season 5 is undoubtedly somewhere over the rainbow, but still, mum’s the word.
Ratings for its Friday night slot, preceding “Blue Bloods,” has been solid. “BB” is Friday’s hottie and its 13th season is ahead, led by original Magnum star Tom Selleck, now Commissioner Regan.
Jay Hernandez is the current Thomas Magnum, private investigator in paradise; he’s popular and has done no wrong.
The show deserves another season.
Why? Scripts have been pretty solid.
And aside from those somewhat infrequent but humbug road closures for filming — notably the passage way through the tunnels of the Koolaus – they have been rare, so tolerable.
The cast is properly diverse, even if no true isle-reared actor has one of the plum co-starring roles, a fault for mostly all the network shows lensed here. As I’ve preached before, that’s a missed opportunity, and my ongoing mantra.
So what gives?
Are the showrunners waiting for Selleck, who created the role in the first go-round with Higgins, to agree to a cameo? (Not likely, he’s moved on to “Blue Bloods” and is indifferent to interfere with the spin-off reboot; and after eight years as a P.I., he was tired and wanted to terminate the show).
So what’s bewildering for the overdue invitation for the new Magnum to proceed and start planning a summer start on the new season of episodes, since we’ve heard of no chatter nor disenchantment to move ahead, to film new episodes to launch the fifth season this fall.
CBS kept the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0” alive for more than a decade. Now, that was a skosh overlong, considering Alex O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett wanted out, perhaps for three seasons before shutdown, and Scott Caan was an unhappy camper from early on. Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park smelled a salary rat, and perhaps a racial bias, so they exited the show midway through the journey, and we all weren’t surprised that there were behind-the-scenes shenanigans with problematic showrunner Peter Lenkov. His firing was not surprising; his conduct was an issue that created unrest among the cast; the network dismissed him.
But “Magnum”— the other Lenkov-launched series here — has had all its ducks in a row, even surviving the gender switch, turning Higgins into Juliet Higgins, enacted by Perdita Weeks. But we all forgave and forgot.
CBS already has green-lit new seasons, albeit with quirky circumstances, for its “NCIS” franchise series.
If you’ve noticed, the original NCIS no longer features iconic Mark Harmon, as the incomparable Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Strangely, he’s still in the opening credits, even if his character no longer is part of the active acting team. Similarly, the original crime drama enables Duckie, the medical examiner Dr. Daniel Mallard played by David McCallum, to be counted as a team member even if he’s not on call for every episode.
There’s more strange elements on sister show “NCIS: L.A.,” Linda Hunt, as Henrietta Lange, has been absent from the regular pace of storytelling – Hetty is mentioned but not commonly seen – a peculiarity not fully explained. Hunt is 77 and the NCIS honchos reportedly kept her safe and secure during the height of COVID concerns, and though she was off show for nearly two seasons, she made a brief return on the show’s first episode this season. Her character’s status: she’s secure and invisible in Syria. The tradeoff is the recurring Gerald McRaney, as Adm. Hollace Kilbride, who has inherited her screen time, not a wholly acceptable or logical playout.
Of course, the latest serial, “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” has been tapped for a second season without any asterisked characters – meaning no roles have been tapped for limited programming.
Which bounces back to the basic earlier discussion: Why has the renewal of “Magnum” been delayed? We’re all anticipating No. 5. …
And that’s Show Biz. …