Update (January 22, 2014): Looks like this is a "case closed." NBC has shelved its plans to reboot Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer, Deadline reports. NBC is still interested in the idea but wants more time to develop a concept for the update, and Octavia is now free to pursue other projects, which may include other TV pilots for next season.
Update (November 11, 2013): Octavia Spencer may be stepping into the amateur detective shoes of Jessica Fletcher for a new version of Murder, She Wrote — but the star of the original series is none too pleased about the reboot.
"I think it's a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote," Angela Lansbury tells the Associated Press, "because Murder, She Wrote will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person … So I'm sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote even though they have access to it and it's their right."
But the 88-year-old is quick to point out that the shade she's throwing doesn't extend to Octavia: "I saw her in The Help and thought she was absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress. So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn't in Murder, She Wrote."
Original story (October 25, 2013):
Murder, She Wrote is coming back to TV— but don't expect to see Angela Lansbury in the lead role!
Octavia Spencer — who won an Academy Award for her performance in 2011's The Help — is taking over the part in the NBC reboot.
The original CBS series — in which Angela played Jessica "J.B." Fletcher, a mystery novelist by day and an amateur detective by night — hit it big with viewers and critics, running from 1984 to 1996 and earning Angela 12 consecutive Emmy Award nominations.
And now, nearly 18 years after the series ended, NBC is bringing the franchise back, as Deadline reports — this new version written and executive-produced by Desperate Housewives exec producer Alexandra Cunningham.
Octavia has been on a roll recently — with a role in the critically-acclaimed film Fruitvale Station, a guest gig on CBS sitcom Mom, her children's book hitting shelves (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit), and now this plum part.
"I’ve always considered myself an armchair detective, and in a recent meeting with [NBC chairman] Bob Greenblatt, he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV," Octavia tells Deadline. "Naturally, I said J.B. Fletcher meets Colombo… And here we are … Alex Cunningham a brilliant writer who shares my love for all things mysterious and Angela Lansbury."
But don't write Angela off quite yet — the site reports that the 88-year-old has been approached to be involved in the reboot.
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Source: Deadline, Associated Press, Deadline