Ving Rhames New Kojak
USA Loves Rhames for New ‘Kojak’ (Reuters)
Who loves you, Ving Rhames? USA Network, that’s who.
The cable channel will roll out its remake of the 1970s CBS detective drama “Kojak,” starring Rhames in the role made famous by Telly Savalas, as a regular series set to debut in March. USA had initially envisioned doing a series of “Kojak” TV movies with Rhames because the actor’s busy feature schedule would not allow him to commit to a regular series. But USA executives were so pleased with the first film, which wrapped production in August, that they were able to work out a schedule with Rhames to allow for the production of eight additional one-hour episodes, beginning January in Toronto.
The completed two-hour film, in which Rhames plays lollipop-loving gumshoe Theo Kojak, will serve as the series’ first episode, USA execs said. “‘Kojak’ is a perfect USA series,” USA Network/Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer said. “The main character is a true American original — a crime solver with an incredible mix of charm, street smarts and uncanny intuition.”
The revival of “Kojak” on USA also represents a bit of synergy for USA and its parent company, NBC Universal. Universal’s TV division produced the original series, which ran on CBS from 1973-78.
Interesting. While the casting of a gigantic black man to play the role is a departure from the original, Rhames should be able to pull this off and quite possibly improve upon the Savalas version. Not to mention that the passage of 26 years since the old show went off the air means that only us old geezers ever saw it, as I don’t believe it ever made it into syndication.
Casting Rhames as a Greek-American is definitely thinking outside the box. 😉