MacGyver Reboot Update #96

MacGyver fans, rejoice! We have a premiere date – and a very familiar timeslot!

BtS photo of Episode 4×13: Save + The + Dam + World (via Tristin Mays)

(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 Premiere News and Promo
Good news again for MacGyver fans: We finally have a Premiere Date! On November 5, Henry Ian Cusick had tweeted that the show got a full-season-order with CBS ordering 9 more episodes. On November 11, CBS finally released the midseason schedule: Season 4 will premiere on February 7 next year – on Fridays, 8pm.

By taking over its old slot, Hawaii Five-0 will move to 9pm again. Magnum PI, on the other hand, is getting benched until after the MacGyver Season Finale. (Kinda ironic if you remember that MacGyver had been pushed to midseason to make room for Magnum in the first place.)

Screenshot of a BtS video of Season 4 (via Peter Lenkov)

After tweeting the announcement, the MacGyverCBS Twitter Account got itself a new header for the occasion. The MacGyverWriters account kept their header, but tweeted an older Season 4 BtS photo with the premiere date. Lucas Till made the announcement together with Executive Producer Henry Winkler who visited the set that day.

CBS released a short midseason/winter preview of their new and returning shows with a few new scenes of the Reboot as well; featuring Mac, Desi and Russ. It’s difficult to say when we’ll get more promo material, but if they handle it like last year, we should get a Press Release and a First Still in January the latest. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait as long for a trailer as for Season 3 (which didn’t drop until a week before the Fall premiere).

Season 4 Announcement (via Peter Lenkov)

Season 4 Overview
Before we revisit the filming days, let’s check upon the overview of upcoming episodes so far (with the latest news about writers, directors and guest stars). There’s still not too much info listed on IMDb, but there are already some airdates up on The Futon Critic. These dates can still change, of course (depending if there will be a hiatus for March Madness basketball or not).

  • 4×01: (title tba) (February 7)
    Directed by Alexandra La Roche
  • 4×02: Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix (February 14)
    Written by Terry Matalas, directed by David Straiton
  • 4×03: (title tba) (February 21)
    Directed by Lily Mariye
  • 4×04: (title tba) (February 28)
    Directed by Eagle Egilsson
  • 4×05: Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan (March 6)
    Directed by Duane Clark
  • 4×06: (title tba) (March 13)
    Directed by Roderick Davis
  • 4×07: Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey (tbd)
    Guest appearances by Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver) and Peter Weller (as Mason)
  • 4×08: (title tba)
    Presumably directed by David Straiton
    Guest appearances by Amanda Schull (as Emilia West) and 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
  • 4×12: (title tba)
    Presumed guest appearance by Rob Giumarra
  • 4×13: Save + The + Dam + World (tbd)

To recap my last blog post: Filming for Episode 4×11 had started around October 25 with scenes in the War Room and in a parking garage. They also filmed in Mac’s house, car-driving scenes in front of green screens and nearby the Historic Academy of Medicine. They also had a set visit by Murdoc (David Dastmalchian).

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Lucas Till)

Working on Episode 4×12
Filming for Episode 4×12 started around November 8. We didn’t get many BtS photos, but Lucas Till uploaded a new photo of him using roadside flares to read his sides.

On November 11, we didn’t just get the news about the Season 4 premiere date, but also some new material. Justin Hires for example posted a photo of Bozer with Matty and Russ in front of a computer screen.

The next day, they filmed at Foxhall Resort. Apparently, temperatures had dropped quite a bit, and cast and crew sat outside in the sunshine to warm up whenever possible. As Justin revealed, they were filming two episodes at the same time, with him and Meredith Eaton doing more War Rom scenes with the Stand-Ins.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Todd Amateau)

On November 14, Lucas and Levy Tran filmed another bunch of close-up driving scenes on stage; using a classic FORD. Two days later, they shot the driving scenes on location; starting early in the morning to wrap at around 4pm. Interestingly, they had a fake baby on set as well. Maybe another rescue mission?

In between, they filmed what looked like a trial in a court room. The main cast had dressed up accordingly, and Lucas’ Stand-In Matt was seen sitting in front as if he was the one being accused. Both Lucas and Justin took some time to pose for photos with the office workers in the Stockbridge City Hall. Interestingly, they had a local TV station on set as well. Maybe some BtS interviews for the upcoming promo?

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Steven Serna)

Working on Episode 4×13 and beyond
Filming for Episode 4×13 started November 13. They set up in a warehouse location; trying to battle the cold in between scenes.

Since Extra Dee Byers revealed the call sheet in an Instagram Story, we know the title of the episode is “Save + The + Dam + World”. Considering that this was probably intended to be the Season Finale (if they hadn’t ordered more episodes), we can expect a rather explosive storyline – and maybe even a plot twist. Of course, it’s also possible they swapped scripts or did a rewrite as soon as they got the back-order; keeping the intended midseason finale episode for a later time.

On Wednesday, production moved out to the dam near Eatonton; about an hour outside of Atlanta. While Tristin wasn’t too happy about her hotel room (that is apparently a meeting-place for ants), they had fun filming outside in nice weather. Judging by the Instagram Stories of the crew, there will be some action with MacGyver hanging off either the dam or a bridge. Fun times!

Season 4 Announcement (via Peter Lenkov)

Other Cast, Crew and Character News
As Amanda Schull revealed, her character in Episode 4×08 is named Emilia West. There was a huge spoiler about Scottie Thompson’s character name on the call sheet for Episode 4×13 – probably the reason why TV Line had refused to reveal it in their spoiler article last month. (And also the reason why I haven’t posted it on Twitter yet.)

There weren’t many casting calls in the last two weeks. Central Casting Georgia has been looking for Family Members, for Codex Kids, for Family Members on Cruiser Bikes, for Politicians, for a Pilot and for a Naval Aide. They also had casting calls for Techs, for Agents, for Operatives and the usual calls for Photo Doubles and Stand-Ins (e.g. for Tristin Mays).

MacGyver in Austria and Germany
In Austria, the ratings for Season 2 stayed pretty stable; with the season ending on a high note, even. To recap: Episode 2×18 (Riley + Airplane) got 37’000 live-viewers, followed by Episode 2×19 with 38’000 live-viewers.

Episodes 2×20 (Skyscraper – Power) and 2×21 (Wind + Water) had 47’000 and 59’000 live-viewers. Last Saturday, Episode 2×22 (UFO + Area 51) got 36’00 live-viewers, folled by the Season Finale Episode 2×23 (MacGyver + MacGyver) with 53’000 live-viewers. On average, every Season 2 episode had about 37’000 live viewers which is less than half the average for Season 1 (83’000 live-viewers). There’s no information yet if they’ll also air Season 3.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Justin Hires)

Tomorrow, German Free-TV will start from the beginning with channel Kabel 1 showing reruns of two episodes of Season 1 at prime time; replacing reruns of Hawaii Five-0.

Season 4 predictions
MacGyver got a full season order and didn’t get pushed back to a timeslot in Spring or Summer – or worse, to one of the current CBS “death slots” (Thursday 10pm or Sunday 10pm). Still, while that looks promising, it’s not a guarantee that the show is safe and automatically renewed. It’s still important that it has good live-ratings per se, but also compared to the other CBS shows.

If you’ve read my last few blog posts, you might remember that the average ratings of the other CBS 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. If the Fall schedule is full, shows are pushed to midseason or even Summer; usually getting lower ratings than they would have with a Fall premiere.
  • …how many episodes MacGyver gets for Season 5 in case it’s renewed: The more shows are cancelled, the more free slots on the schedule and the bigger the chances for a full season if your show was renewed.
  • …if MacGyver gets a syndication deal: If the ratings are rather low AND it’s also one of the lowest-rated shows on the network, the more likely another show gets a deal instead. The Reboot is lucky to have a well-known franchise name already, but ratings are still important.

While I’m happy for the return of MacGyver, I feel bad for the Magnum fans. Kinda ironic if you think that MacGyver was pushed to midseason to make room for Magnum in the first place. And benching a show for almost 5 months when there’s only 6 or 8 episodes at most left to air (depending if they got a 20 episode order again or a full season of 22 this time) seems a strange decision to me. But alas, it’s CBS. Strange decisions seem to be their forte lately.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Peter Lenkov)

But most important for the fans, what does the new/old timeslot mean? What can we expect this season? Let’s take a look at predictions for the schedule, the ratings and such.

  • Friday Schedule: Usually, CBS airs their shows weekly. Yet, the press release announced that MacGyver will finish in Spring. That’s a bit difficult with a full season of 22 episodes, especially if they have a 3-week-hiatus again for March Madness.

Prediction: If there are no schedule changes, Blue Bloods will be done around March 13 (the day MacGyver will air Episode 4×06). Hawaii Five-0 should air their Season Finale around end of March. Instead of airing reruns of H50 at 9pm, they could air two episodes of MacGyver a week. That would mean the show has its Season Finale in late Spring and leaves an open timeslot for Magnum PI.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Meredith Eaton)

Of course, CBS can still change their minds. Depending on how good Magnum does ratings-wise before they take it off schedule (especially when the crossover with H50 airs in January), they could decide to speed things up to bring it back sooner, airing it at 9pm after MacGyver as soon as H50 is done.

They could also put it onto another slot entirely since in recent years, the Friday 8pm timeslot has been occupied by non-scripted shows in Spring and Summer. They might want to prevent Magnum airing between a non-scripted show and reruns, but who knows. Anything could happen.

  • Ratings: First of all, most CBS Fall shows reach their peak around midseason. Second, most CBS Fall shows pick up in ratings on the same level the show ended in Spring.

Prediction: The Season 3 Finale Episode had a demo of 0.65 and a live-audience of 5.472 million viewers. Season 4 starts at midseason, meaning that it probably will start lower than it would have in Fall, not peaking as high and dropping faster the higher the temperatures rise up. That doesn’t sound very positive, but a timeslot around midseason on a Friday also means that the expectations aren’t as high as they would have been for a Fall premiere.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Justin Hires)

Veteran show Hawaii Five-0 has an average demo of 0.69 and 6.92 million live-viewers per episode at the moment. When looking at demo ratings of the Friday line-up, H50 is still the one doing best (contrary to last year, when it was usually Blue Bloods winning in demo). H50 is remarkable stable in ratings, so the switch back to 9pm shouldn’t hurt H50 and will elevate Blue Bloods.

  • Crossover Potential: They are almost done with filming the crossover between Magnum and H50. As announced last week by TV Line, it will air on January 3. Despite teasing us with a 3-show-crossover at PaleyFest LA this April, MacGyver won’t be a part of it (unless Lucas Till secretly travelled to Hawaii when he was missing on set for a few days).

Prediction: I was disappointed to hear about the crossover between the Hawaii-shows only, but that was before the additional order for 9 more MacGyver episodes. A 3-way-crossover could have worked easily if the Reboot had wrapped up filming in Atlanta at the end of November with the initially planned 13-episode-order.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Sarah Downer)

For now, it doesn’t seem likely that the Reboot will get a crossover at all, unless it’s with another midseason crime show. None of the midseason rookies (FBI: Most Wanted or Tommy) are being filmed in Atlanta, though and Criminal Minds has already wrapped months ago. As you can see, the crossover potential is very low.

  • Story-Arc: The back-order for the additional 9 episodes was rather late. Some of the crew had already stated on social media a few months ago that they will move on to other jobs in December or January (e.g. Stunt Coordinator Daniel Hargrave).

Prediction: Since the story-arc was initially written for 13 episodes, I expect the season to be cut into two main storylines; similar to Season 1. It’s possible that some of the crew and the guest stars aren’t available for the production of the rest of the episodes. On the other hand, they have a few more months now to maybe snatch some recurring guest stars that weren’t available for the episodes so far. Reign Edwards is still filming in New Zealand, but a longer season could give her the opportunity to film at least one last scene as Leanna.

  • Season 3 DVD: We’re waiting.

Prediction: CBS released the DVDs for the Fall shows between a month and a week before the Fall premieres. I expect the DVD to be released around January – unless CBS finally realizes to make use of the potential of the DVD as a Christmas gift.

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