NEWS > ENTERTAINMENT > GRITTY MR. BELVEDERE REBOOT HITS LEGAL SNAG
GRITTY MR. BELVEDERE REBOOT HITS LEGAL SNAG
March 6 2011
Hollywood, CA – There are few people back in 2003 who would have imagined, who could even of dreamt of having the foresight, to predict that the reboot of a cheesy and poorly regarded science fiction show from the 1970’s could be successfully
revamped for the modern world. Luckily for television those few people that did have such a vision decided to pursue the reboot and created what most consider to be not only one of the greatest science fiction shows ever made, but one of the greatest television shows ever made.
The successful re-launch of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ was a watershed point for the genre but also for the entertainment world in general, sparking the current re-boot trend that has created dozens of new projects. While those projects have had mixed success, the net sum gain has been huge for production companies, studios, and fans. With reboots and remakes now commonplace, and largely successful,, it perhaps doesn’t come as a surprise that many production companies are starting to mine their back catalogue, particularly the fertile ground of the 1980’s, to pad out their production slate. However one of those projects, a reboot of the beloved ‘Mr. Belvedere’, may have hit a major snag before ever giving the public the chance to decide after a legal dispute over rights ownership.
“Basically it’s a debate between the production company, Fox, the original distributer, ABC, and the estate of Gwen Davenport who created the original character. Not many people know this but that show, at least the character, was based on a literary character. That mess of rights has put the whole project into turnaround,” said an insider. “It sucks too, the project is really solid. Very much a total reboot that kills pretty much all the family stuff and silliness that made up the old show. This thing is real and gritty and shows the hardship of coming to a new country and trying to adapt to the eccentricities of life there. It’ll have a few laughs of course, but this thing is something else.”
The character of Lynn Belvedere originated in a 1947 novel written by Davenport. It was then translated into a series of films before becoming a sitcom in 1985.
“Remember that back in the mid-eighties Fox didn’t have a television network and so they have changed their minds about things. There’s also the desire by the new team to run the show in syndication rather than on a network and that has caused a lot of problems,” continued the insider. “The biggest sticking point though is the estate. They are asking for a lot more than is normally afforded to these kinds of things and, as a result of a really crummy deal, they retained the rights to the character back when they first put things together. That has really screwed up the deal and may kill the project altogether.”
The show had been planned for a 2012 release. No roles have been cast as yet.
“Personally I loved the original show and in many ways I am glad they are having so much trouble getting the reboot off the ground. In all, I’m not an opponent of reboots but I guess that’s easy to say when the particular work isn’t close to your heart the way this particular one is with me. That said, it would be interesting to see what they were planning with it,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “Reboots can be done very well and if they put that kind of dedication into the project, go for it, but with how things sound it may never happen. With all those fingers in the pie it would probably take a big legal wrangle to get things sorted out and I would bet that the potential returns wouldn’t justify that. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Bob Uecker, who starred in the original series and is still alive, has already expressed a desire to appear in the reboot providing it’s not too violent.
Samantha Dryden, Entertainment Correspondent