'Murder, She Wrote' reboot in the works with Octavia Spencer
October 25th, 2013
12:55 PM ET

'Murder, She Wrote' reboot in the works with Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer, like several other movie stars we could name, is now plotting a move to TV.

Big stars, small screen: Movie actors flock to TV

The Oscar winning actress is on board to star in a reboot of "Murder, She Wrote," which is in the works at NBC, Deadline reports. It would be "The Help" star's first regular series role.

The original "Murder, She Wrote" is a popular part of TV history, running for 12 seasons on CBS with Angela Lansbury starring as mystery writer/amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.

The reboot will re-imagine the classic program as "a light, contemporary procedural" akin to Fox's "Bones." Spencer will play a hospital administrator/self-published mystery novelist who also happens to have a talent for sleuthing. "Set in a day where sensational headlines inundate the news, this woman's avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in investigations," Deadline describes.

"Desperate Housewives" writer/producer Alexandra Cunningham is writing the reboot, which has a put pilot commitment from NBC, and "Six Feet Under" EP David Janollari is producing.

Trying to succeed Angela Lansbury and her iconic character, who reigned from 1984 to 1996, is a herculean task, not to mention the fact that "Murder, She Wrote" was amazingly successful, bringing in 23 million viewers on Sunday nights during its peak. What do you think, will NBC be able to pull it off?

Filed under: Celebrities • television

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. J Thomas

    Why would they call it Murder, She Wrote? The new character is going to work in a hospital. That should be a spin-off of Diagnosis Murder not Murder, She Wrote. The point of Murder, She Wrote was that she was a writer.

    October 29, 2013 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Peace ☮

    Oh yay, a reboot! What will they think of next? (w/eyes rolling)

    October 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anti-Reflective Lens Cleaner

    If the reboot lasts 11 seasons, I wonder if she'll literally start phoning it in like Angela Lansbury did.

    October 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. namkoS

    BIG SHIZ, that twitter selfie of you dressed up in drag got posted on C N N over the weekend. They're calling you Octavia Spencer and saying you finally got a job!

    October 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hannover

    Oh great, another crappy reboot. They should show this right after Ironside. That got cancelled after like 1 episode. If there was a way to get cancelled in less than 1 episode, I bet this reboot will find it.

    October 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Poppysue85

    How about new show ideas? Why do they have to try to remake? It's never going to have the charm of the original, because now they are going to have to give it an edge, a twist.....it's just tired.

    October 28, 2013 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. would you kindly get out of my

    Head so I can get some sleep? I think about all the time.

    October 28, 2013 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. crazy is good :)


    October 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fenn

    Hrmms, i though there was a murder she wrote reboot done already called Castle. If you think about it, that's pretty much what that show is. Why make another one

    October 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lol

    Oh boy ford grass is best for horses to eat

    October 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. uummmm no

    No new ideas in Hollywood.

    October 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. shadowcass

    "Murder She Wrote" was a CBS show...which is why they were comfortable going with an older actress in the lead. As the generation watching television grows younger...the networks assume they won't watch some old lady running around solving mysteries in the style first set by Agatha Christie's Miss Marple (a role Angela Lansbury once played, as a matter of fact. But then, Angela was British by birth and she still lives in England, so THAT'S alright.. Hard to believe she's 88 years old, isn't it?)

    I first saw Angela in THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY with Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, George Sanders, and Peter Lawford. This was released way back in 1945. And, some of you may remember that Miss Lansbury reprised her famous song from that film "Goodbye Little Yellow Bird" in an episode of MURDER, SHE WROTE.

    I don't like this trend towards "reboots". Classic shows that MY generation loved would bore the young folks of today if they did them "right" (by which we mean, did them the way we remember them) and that is why they ring in these changes.

    Octavia Spencer, if you happen to read this, understand I hope the show is a hit for you and you are able to do it for a great many seasons. I won't be watching but that isn't YOUR fault...I'm just a "Murder, She Wrote Classic" fan and too old to change.

    October 27, 2013 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Roxy

      What another remake of an old Tv show ,what's the matter they can't come up with Original Tv shows any more? What happened to talented Hollywood script writers ? What's next they will do a remake of All in the Family or The Fresh Price of BelAir ?

      October 27, 2013 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. tarod

    great! here we go again, and now it is Murder she wrote they are screwing up!! First Ironside remake lasted 2 episodes, now this fiasco ? What are they thinking, taking a cultured, older refined woman like Angela Lansbury and replacing her with some overweight black chick? I give it 2 episodes and being generous at that!! WHAT A JOKE !! AND SUCH A WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME !! Too bad, if the executives had a brain, bringing back some of the old classics would have been the right move, but, totally miss-casting the leads obviously ends in failure... get it right or dont do it at all!!

    October 27, 2013 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Producer

      That's Hollywood's great new idea: Every successful show with white characters will be re-made with diversity, using characters of color to reflect the changing demographics of America and the new inclusiveness. Dorothy from Wizard of Oz? Single negress, overweight with three kids from three dads all on food stamps. Maria from sound of music? Latina high school dropout working in fast food. Turn TV off and read old books – we'll all be better off and only then will Hollywood get a clue.

      October 28, 2013 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Director

      A black version of the sound of music sounds interesting. The Nazis could be portrayed by members of the Tea Party who would literally clamor for the roles. Same with the Wizard of Oz: Palin or Bachmann as the Wicked Witch of the West, with various and asundry Tea Party voters and politicians as her flying monkey minions. And it wouldn't even be parody!

      October 28, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Critic

      A better story line would have Hillary as the Wicked Witch, Harry Reid as the Cowardly Lion, and the Flying Monkeys would be played by mindless hoards of Dimocrats.

      October 29, 2013 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. I_Fortuna

    I love Octavia but nix the Hospital administrator. Being a novelist was good enough for Angela and it should be good enough for Octavia. Don't mess it up with an additional occupation. Writer is enough! She should have more freedom to explore other venues bsides a hospital. Please don't pigeon hole her.

    October 27, 2013 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. 2 bad troll buster is 2 busy 4 the likes of some of u

    Maybe troll buster is helping a friend 🙂

    October 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Quality counts

    I still watch "Murder, She Wrote" reruns on HMC. Am I going to watch this? Ha. Ha. Ha, ha. Ha, ha. Ha, ha, he, hee. Hee, hee, ho, hoo, ha, haa, you gotta be kiddin' me, hooo, whoo, what the f? Hooo . . . . that's a good one. NBC, please. . . . leave the past behind and move on. You can't recreate yourselves by disrespecting a classic. Make a new classic. Or die.

    October 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  17. lol

    Troll buster? Or, no mustard?

    October 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Blackcurry

    This will be a complete and utter disaster. Angela Lansbury was Mrs. Fletcher and nobody will ever be as good in that role. There is no way this actress (who is way too young) can replace Angela Lansbury with any degree of success. Bad idea. I for one will not be watching a newbie slaughter the character we've come to know and love.

    October 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Blaise Borr

    I wish NBC luck but I don't think it will work. Take a look at the latest reboot for Ironside, canceled. The Bionic Woman, canceled. Knight Rider 2000, canceled. A lot of these shows that Gen X grew up with were played by such iconic actors like Angela Lansbury, or Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman,, that no one will accept another actor/actress playing them in a reboot of the show(s)

    October 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Clete

    Ah...NBC. The creative minds must be working overtime. Let's recycle an old television show, put a black actress in the lead and hope it works. Our next projects are a new updated version of ALP staring Justin Bieber as the alien and My Mother the Car staring Barbara Walters.

    October 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Yo Mama

    How about just coming up with some new ideas instead of badly remaking old shows that need to be left alone?

    October 26, 2013 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  22. YBTHER

    Why bother?....I'll never watch it.

    October 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  23. troll buster

    Gotcha! Oh wait. Missed again. Drat!!!

    October 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • really? !

      You're an idiot! I wasn't trolling and you deleted it because I said the truth!

      October 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • really? !

      Sorry. Wrong blog

      October 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • troll buster-the original

      Let me say this again. I only take out the dating sites and the spammer bot trolls. If your post disappeared, somebody else did it. The person using my name, the one that says drat all the time, or the one that says busted, not me. I don't really care that they use "troll buster", as long as they are doing some busting, too. There are many troll busters on this blog now. So be advised, if your post disappears, it was not me.

      October 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • .....

      In other words, you are ineffective as a buster of trolls.

      October 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • @.....

      Shut up fool. Nobody's talking to you. Your such a whiner. Go and see what your mommy has for you for lunch.

      October 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • troll buster-the original

      Do you want me to go after ALL the trolls? Who makes that decision on who is a troll or not? If you don't like what somebody has to say, then you should take them out. I'm not here to do that. If you notice, though, all the spam bots are gone, and so are the dating sites. If I was vindictive, I'd delete your comment, but I just don't care that much. You have the right to voice your opinion on this blog, just like everyone else. Again, just spammer bots and dating sites are my target. Got it now?

      October 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • @troll buster

      Its prob the same jelly bean whiner that crys when you don't show and clean up the nonsense. I'm guessing the fool want it to be a yawn fest .

      October 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ($)&($)

      Just trolling for self-important pompous azzes. I've caught my limit for today. Time to head back to shore

      October 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ($)&($)

      @yes: you've been bested again. Get over it. I know life is rough in the trailer park. Maybe you should get off mommy's computer for a while and go play in the road.

      October 27, 2013 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  24. MomofTeens

    If she is to be a hospital administrator, it sounds more like a reboot Diagnosis Murder than Murder She Wrote. The orig. worked because she was a retired teacher, with time to write. Novel writing is a full time job, someone that has the responsibility of a hospital admin. would not have the time to write much less promote her books. Castle works because he is a full time novelist, they explain his time working on novels as during the summer to catch up etc. As for the black/vs. white, so what, she's a good actress, I'd try the show if it was on when I could watch it. I actually looked forward to Ironside because I like the actor from LA Law, never even saw when it was on and heard it was cancelled. If shows are to succeed, people need time to find them and more than 1-3 episodes to decide if they want to invest time in them.

    October 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. HendrixRules

    Maybe she can team with Watson and Ironside...that could work, right? Right?

    October 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • HendixRules

      For the record: as far as I'm concerned, Samuel L. Jackson was a better Nick Fury than any white guy could ever have been; so swallow those "racist" epithets. It's about character, not color!

      October 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  26. metalhead65

    this is a joke right? they got it right with the Hawaii 50 remake now they are trying to to redo anything with a name. I am with jimmer on this, they need to do a white remake of the Cosby show and see what the reaction would be. the lady may be a fine actress but needs to find a show of her own to do. just because the show had/has a white cast does not make it racist. there is no need to redo it with a black cast.

    October 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Television Producer

    For our next project, Fat Albert will be a neurosurgeon! No? Fiddy Cent will be a rocket scientist! No? The obamaphone lady will be Miss Universe!

    October 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  28. IggySmalls

    In B4 "Leave it to B. Veer."

    October 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Michelle

    I like Octavia Spencer a lot but this can’t be done! The eighties/nineties period the show was set in helped make what it was.This would really just be a brand new show with the same name. You can’t re-create Jessica Fletcher, she is a legend.

    October 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ANN M.


      October 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Robert

    The character is too iconic to be re-cast and re-imagined. NBC failed in its attempt tp reboot Ironside so i see this one going the same way. Its just hard to reboot an iconic show no matter who you cast. Next they will try to reboot Perry Mason. NBC should focus on new shows instead of reboots.

    October 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Great White Snark

      But...but...aren't YOU a race baiter, jimmer? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black - or would that be white, in your case?

      October 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmer

      "But...but...aren't YOU a race baiter, jimmer? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black – or would that be white, in your case?"

      And by your remarkably unintelligent logic, any black person who accuses someone of being racist, is therefore racist.

      October 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |

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