MacGyver Reboot Update #95

Last week, there were only two more episodes left to film for Season 4. But now, there’s suddenly 9 more, yay!

BtS photo of Season 4 (via James Callis)

(Minor Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about characters and storylines in Season 4 by reading this post and its comments or by clicking on the links provided! For daily news and to join the discussion and/or speculate away, you can find me on Twitter and head over to the MacGyverOnline Forums.)


Season 4 Overview
Good news for MacGyver fans! On November 5, Henry Ian Cusick tweeted that the show got a full-season-order with CBS ordering 9 more episodes. There was no official press release as with the other back-orders a few weeks ago, but since Executive Producer Peter Lenkov retweeted the post as well, it seems to be a sure thing. Sadly, there’s still no release date yet.

(via Henry Ian Cusick)

Before we revisit the filming days during the last two weeks, here’s the usual overview of the upcoming episodes so far (with the latest news about writers, directors and guest stars). Since the IMDb entries still don’t go beyond Episode 4×06, it’s difficult to find more information.

  • 4×01: (title tba)
    Directed by Alexandra La Roche
  • 4×02: Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix
    Written by Terry Matalas, directed by David Straiton
  • 4×03: (title tba)
    Directed by Lily Mariye
  • 4×04: (title tba)
    Directed by Eagle Egilsson
  • 4×05: Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan
    Directed by Duane Clark
  • 4×06: (title tba)
    Directed by Roderick Davis
  • 4×07: Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey
    Guest appearances by Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver) and Peter Weller (as Mason)
  • 4×08: (title tba)
    Presumably directed by David Straiton
    Guest appearance by Keith David.
  • 4×09: (title tba)
    Written by Brandon Botta and Casey Tollett Botta, directed by Mike Martinez
  • 4×10: (title tba)
    Directed by Yangzom Brauen
  • 4×11: (title tba)
    Presumed guest appearances by Amber Skye Noyes and by Dawson Towery

To recap my last blog post about the ongoing production: Filming for Episode 4×10 started on October 15 in the War Room, followed by a 1920s party scene a few days later.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Christopher Jon Duddy)

Apparently, the storyline is set in San Francisco in the roaring twenties, dealing with the history of the Phoenix Foundation and its predecessor DXS; somehow involving the scientists and inventors Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. This sure looks to be one of the most interesting episodes this season.

Working on Episode 4×11
Filming for Episode 4×11 started around October 25 with scenes in the War Room and in a parking garage. Peter Lenkov uploaded some editing scenes as Instagram stories; confirming that Peter Weller as Mason will definitely come back. Guest star Holly Deveaux posted a photo of her in prison garb.

On October 28, we got a special surprise: David “Murdoc” Dastmalchian was spotted on set. Back in June, David had auctioned off a set visit and apparently, now was the day to host it. In between, he took photos with Meredith Eaton and with Costumer Sarah Downer. Let’s hope he also found some time to film some scenes for the episode.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via David Dastmalchian)

The next two days, the cast continued to film War Room scenes. While the rest of the characters were dressed in “normal” clothes, both Levy Tran and Henry Ian Cusick were seen wearing black overalls, indicating an undercover mission.

Sadly, the cast and crew still mostly post Instagram stories instead of BtS photos in good quality. Levy Tran uploaded a short video of Lucas/Mac sleeping in Mac’s bed. It’s not entirely clear if she caught Lucas unaware napping away during set preparation or if this will be part of the episode.

On November 1, the rats (yes, the animals) were back on set. The cast and crew were partially enamored, partially a bit scared. Meredith Eaton posed with one of the rats, clearly liking them.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Justin Hires)

Filming continued for Levy on Saturday, November 2. Interestingly, it seems like crew member Haley Porch has a little part as well. Judging by a BtS photo with Lucas Till on November 4, it looks like James Callis will appear in more than one episode (unless they had to do some reshoots). Both Lucas and James look dirtied and a bit banged up.

The next day, production moved to film nearby the Historic Academy of Medicine. The sound crew was not happy since they had to film right next to an ongoing road construction site. Meredith Eaton posted two nice Instagram Short Stories of her character with Ian’s character all dressed up. Dinner Date or Undercover Mission? I guess we’ll see… sometime. Whenever that is *lol*.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Steven Serna)

Yesterday, they continued filming some more War Room scenes before relocating. They filmed car-driving scenes in front of green screens. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure if this was still for Episode 4×11 or already for Episode 4×12.

Other Cast, Crew and Character News
In the last two weeks, Central Casting Georgia has been looking for a Maintenance Crew, for Set Workers, for Tactical Men, for Senators, Military and Chiefs, for Businesswomen and Businessmen, for Diner Patrons, a Wait Staff, a cook and Truckers and for a scientist. They also had casting calls for Techs, for Lab Techs, for Guards and for Tactical Guards and the usual calls for Photo Doubles (e.g. for Tristin Mays) and Stand-Ins (e.g. for Amber Skye Noyes or for Dawson Towery).

The most interesting casting call however was the one for a Caucasian male aged 20 to 30 to play a Phoenix. Yes, a Phoenix. I’m not sure if they simply scrambled up the call for a Phoenix tech or agent or if they really incorporated a methaphorical Phoenix aka a person (looking like maybe MacGyver?) dressed up as a Phoenix into an episode. Guess we’ll see “soon”.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Levy Tran)

MacGyver in Austria and Germany
In Austria, the ratings for Season 2 stayed pretty stable or once. To recap: Episode 2×16 (Hammock + Balcony) had 29’000 live-viewers, followed by Episode 2×17 (Bear Trap + Mob Boss) with 42’000 live-viewers. Episode 2×18 (Riley + Airplane) got 37’000 live-viewers, followed by Episode 2×19 with 38’000 live-viewers.

On November 23, German Free-TV channel Kabel 1 will start at the beginning; showing reruns of Season 1 at prime time and replacing reruns of Hawaii Five-0.

CBS Fall TV Season Ratings: Overview
It’s been almost two months of Fall TV. Due to the NFL games, CBS aired reruns of some shows last week. The next break with reruns will be around Thanksgiving.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Holly Deveaux)

Since CBS still hasn’t announced the midseason schedule yet (unlike FOX and NBC), lets take another look at the CBS ratings. Why should MacGyver fans care about the ratings of other shows? To recap: The ratings are interesting because…

  • …the demo ratings of the other CBS crime/drama shows – especially the rookies – will determine what timeslot Season 4 of the Reboot might air in and when the premiere will happen. The fact that Season 4 is a full season of 22 episodes now means that the show is more likely than ever to premiere in January.
  • …the average ratings of the other shows compared to the Reboot might determine if MacGyver gets another season or not. The better other shows do, the more dangerous for the Reboot; especially when the schedule is already packed.
  • …the average ratings of the other shows compared to the Reboot might determine how many episodes MacGyver gets for Season 5 in case it’s renewed. The more room on the schedule, the bigger the chances for a full season.

On October 23, CBS announced that they just handed out full-season back-orders to four freshman series; including crime show All Rise. That means that at the moment, there are only 3 timeslots that will be vacant in January/February (Wednesdays 8pm, Thursdays 10pm and Sundays 10pm) – unless CBS moves a low-rated show into a different timeslot to make room for the Reboot.

CBS Fall 2019 Schedule (via World Screen)

Three potential timeslots without a schedule tweak isn’t much, considering there’s 8 midseason shows still waiting for a slot. But the fact that CBS ordered more episodes without announcing Season 4 to be the last one means the show is still important enough for the network for now.

CBS Ratings: Monday

  • Rookie show All Rise (9pm) has an average demo of 0.65 and 5.28 million live-viewers per episode at the moment. Compared to the demos of all other CBS shows, All Rise is on Rank 13 (out of 20); just jumping ahead of Bull and SEAL Team this week. Because All Rise got a full season-order of 22 episodes, the timeslot will stay occupied into Spring with new episodes and probably with reruns during hiatus (unless the show gets cancelled; opening up the slot around April or May).
  • The average per episode for Bull (10pm) is a demo of 0.64 and 6.11 million live-viewers. Both demo and audience numbers had been rising until this week. Since the show is also a candidate for a syndication deal, it will most likely stay in this slot with reruns during hiatus.

Verdict: A Monday Premiere in January doesn’t seem very likely at the moment, but it can still happen. There’s a possibility for Bull being moved to Thursdays or Sundays, for example.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Meredith Eaton)

CBS Ratings: Tuesday

  • The newest season of NCIS (8pm) is doing very well with an average of 1.19 in demo and 11.56 million live-viewers per episode. NCIS is still the CBS Fall show with the biggest demo overall and also the lowest demo loss compared to last year. It’s getting old and expensive, but it’s also a money machine. It seems very unlikely that CBS would move the show anywhere else.
  • The average per episode for FBI (9pm) is a demo of 0.88 and 8.86 million live-viewers. Compared to last season, FBI has the second-lowest demo-drop and is almost even in audience. It seems very unlikely that CBS would move the show anywhere else – unless it’s for the midseason spin-off (FBI: Most Wanted).
  • NCIS: New Orleans (10pm) has a demo of 0.69 and 6.68 million live-viewers on average per episode at the moment. Compared to last season, the losses in both demo and audience are low. Its reruns could still get replaced with the FBI spin-off in Spring – or with FBI reruns so they can air the spin-off in the 9pm timeslot.

Verdict: No matter what, it doesn’t seem very likely for MacGyver to air on Tuesdays.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Levy Tran)

CBS Ratings: Wednesday

  • So far, I never touched upon the non-scripted show Survivor (8pm). It’s ratings are irrelevant – what’s relevant is that the show concludes on December 18; meaning that there’s another potential timeslot in January. Last year, the slot was occupied by The Amazing Race. There’s still a tiny chance that they’ll air MacGyver instead.
  • SEAL Team (9pm): At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.65 and 4.65 million live-viewers. Audience numbers and demo aren’t that great, but CBS rarely cancels a show in its 3rd season. There is a chance that they put the show on a hiatus like they did this year already.
  • At the moment, the average per episode for SWAT (10pm) is a demo of 0.54 and 3.72 million live-viewers. Of the 20 CBS Fall shows airing at the moment, SWAT dropped to Rank 19 in demo and to Rank 20 in audience. Its fate might depend on the co-producing network. The timeslot is not a good option for MacGyver anyway, but the chances are getting higher that SWAT might have to endure a timeslot change and will be demoted to midseason if it gets renewed.

Verdict: Wednesdays are not doing that well. There’s a good chance that they’ll put SEAL Team and/or SWAT on a hiatus – most likely either for Criminal Minds or MacGyver.

BtS Instagram Story screenshot of Season 4 (via Levy Tran)

CBS Ratings: Thursday

  • Rookie show Evil (10pm) already got renewed for a second season. Since the first season will conclude after 13 episodes on January 30, there will be an available timeslot in February (unless they intend to air reruns).

Verdict: Although MacGyver is a candidate for this slot in February, it’s not a slot that would do the show many favors. Yet, there’s a good chance that CBS will put another show into this slot instead of Evil reruns since its ratings are not very good and still dropping.

CBS Ratings: Friday

  • Veteran show Hawaii Five-0 (8pm) has an average demo of 0.69 and 6.81 million live-viewers per episode. When looking at demo ratings of the Friday line-up, H50 is still the one doing best. If CBS insists on keeping Magnum as well, they might let H50 stay in this slot next year.
  • Magnum PI (9pm): The average per episode is a demo of 0.59 and 6.18 million live-viewers at the moment; still placing it at Rank 18 of all scripted CBS shows. Although Magnum is the only CBS Fall show to gain in audience numbers, the demo is rather low.  Since it’s a co-production, the fate of the show might depend on how long NBCU is willing to pay for it. A renewal might not keep it safe from being demoted to midseason, though. They could also forego reruns in favor of reruns of H50 (like they will do for Thanksgiving) – or in favor of new episodes for MacGyver.
  • For veteran show Blue Bloods (10pm), the average per episode is 0.62 in demo and 7.48 million live-viewers. While the audience loss compared to last season is as expected (Rank 4), the demo dropped by 22% (Rank 16). Blue Bloods is old and expensive and the demo rating is being dragged down by its lead-in Magnum, but it has international and syndication deals in place and is still in a better position for a renewal than many other shows.

Verdict: The Friday 8pm timeslot is usually occupied by non-scripted shows in Spring and Summer. They could temporarily move it to 9pm again for reruns (which would mean no reruns of Magnum) or put MacGyver into one of the Friday slots in Spring. For January, a MacGyver premiere on Friday seems very unlikely, though.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Cornell Willis)

CBS Ratings: Sunday

  • Veteran NCIS: Los Angeles (9pm) has an average demo of 0.70 and 6.33 million live-viewers per episode. The show does still well enough in a rather difficult timeslot. Apart from NCIS, it’s the highest-rated veteran crime show when compared for demo.
  • Madam Secretary (10pm) will be done after airing 10 episodes; meaning that there will be a vacant timeslot by January.

Verdict: It’s possible CBS will put another show there that isn’t doing well this season so they don’t have to cancel it yet – or choose a midseason show for it. As said before, it’s not a good slot for MacGyver – but it could definitely happen.

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