After the bombshell news of Peter Lenkov being fired and Lucas Till speaking up about a work environment of abuse, everything quieted down again. Cast and Crew are waiting for the green light to start filming for Season 5.
(Minor Spoiler Alert: You might get spoilered about Season 5 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.)
A new Showrunner for Season 5 (encore)
The MacGyverWriters have been back in the (virtual) office since June 12. They are a lot more active on Twitter than in recent years – maybe also to gloss over the upsetting reports surrounding the show in recent weeks.
ICYMI: (Former) Showrunner Peter Lenkov was fired by CBS; dismissed despite having a year left on his overall deal. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the news; stating that the dismissal happened after an investigation into multiple claims that Lenkov created a toxic work environment. On July 20, an article by Vanity Fair revealed how toxic this work environement really was and how appalling and abusive Lenkov’s behavior towards cast and crew.
According to Vanity Fair, Lucas Till had already complained about Lenkov’s behavior to HR in 2017 with no results. After another complaint in May this year, CBS finally decided to look into it. Sources told writer Maureen Ryan that Lucas paved the way to finally put an end to Lenkov’s tyranny. It’s rare for people to speak up on record and even more rare for the lead of an ongoing show to do so. Lucas put his career on the line to stand up for what is right, and it’s probably due to his name attached that this article has been making waves for several days on social media and news sites.
What’s going to happen now?
During the investigation, CBS had already set the wheels in motion to remove Peter Lenkov as quickly as possibly if needed. The timing is interesting, since several former writers of Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver hinted at a revealing article being in the works just after the news broke that Lenkov had been fired. It’s very likely that this article and Lucas speaking up (instead of being an anonymous source) triggered the cascade of Lenkov being fired instead of being reprimanded.
It’s not clear what incident led Lucas to reach out to HR again in May. But more people and companies have reached out to the author of the article willing to talk, so there might be some follow-up articles and reveals coming. And there might be more personnel changes for Season 5. According to Vanity Fair, Co-Executive Producer Jeffrey Downer is no longer with the show. Several crew members who had ties to Lenkov or spoke up about him; dismissing the claims as lies on social media, have been let go. It’s possible there might be “collateral damage” and an overhaul of entire crew departements (e.g. Jeff Downer’s daughter Sarah who has been working as a costumer on the show since 2017).
So far, every new Co-EP and Co-Showrunner brought in new people they’ve already worked with in the past. New Showrunner Monica Macer will probably also bring in new directors, producers and crew. Additionally, CBS has committed to bring more diversity to the network.
Both SWAT and Magnum PI are listed with production dates for August. On July 24, Henry Ian Cusick attended an online panel for “Comic Con at Home” (since San Diego Comic Con had to be cancelled); hosted by Entertainment Weekly under the title “Brave Warriors”. He mentioned that filming for MacGyver is planned to resume in August as well, but at the moment, it doesn’t seem very likely.
While MacGyver has the advantage of having a few finished “leftover” episodes from Season 4, they might have to retool the show again to adapt to the pandemic safety guidelines. The focus might be more on character development than on stunts or relationships. Therefore, the “break” between the already filmed Season 4 episodes and Season 5 might be still noticeable; especially with an additional showrunner change.
It will be interesting to see how they’ll manage the gap. They might just re-write the previously intended Season 4 finale and make the actors carry the same hairstyle to ease the shift between the seasons (which means both Lucas and Tristin would have to go back to their Season 4 looks). The easiest way would probably be another time-jump (which is not what I wish for). With Lenkov gone, they could try to reverse some of the storylines and bring old characters back, but that’s maybe too much of a hassle. Let’s wait and see, I guess.
Some fans are still worried that CBS might drop the leftover episodes, but if CBS intends to hold onto any kind of a limited Fall schedule, they don’t have much of a choice. Even with Lenkov’s name attached and Lenkov probably preparing for a lawsuit, the material already belongs to CBS.
Season 4 Rerun Ratings
To recap: The rerun of the Season 3 Finale Episode 3×22 (Mason + Cable + Choices) had 3.480 million live-viewers with a demo of 0.3. The rerun of Episode 4×02 (Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed) on July 17 brought 3.437 million live-viewers, also with a demo of 0.3.
There’s no reruns listed until August 21. There might be some more schedule changes, but at the moment, it will be a rerun of Episode 4×05 (Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan).
What are Cast and Crew up to?
A few weeks ago, Levy Tran was looking at new apartments in Atlanta, so I guess she’s preparing to move back to the area as soon as they get notice on a filming start date. Lucas Till is still on his road trip across the country with brother Nick, roommate Mike, manager Tom and some friends they pick up along the way. Justin Hires has been working on some more music and just announced he’s starting a podcast.
MacGyver in Germany
To Recap: The Free-TV-Premiere of Season 4 in Germany (4×01: Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix) had 1.43 million live-viewers and a market-share of 5.2%. A week later, Episode 4×02 (Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed) managed 1.30 million live-viewers with a market-share of 4.9%.
Episode 4×03 (Kid + Plane + Cable + Truck) did very well with 1.53 million live-viewers and a market-share of 5.8%. It did better than Reef Break and even Hawaii Five-0 (which almost tanked with a new episode at 10pm, which is very unusual). The channel might tweak the schedule a bit, but MacGyver should be safe.
Contrary to the other seasons, they only air one episode instead of two; probably to stretch out the weeks with new episodes. The upcoming German Episode Titles:
- 4×04: Wettlauf mit der Zeit (literal translation: Race against Time; Windmill + Acetone + Celluloid + Firing Pin)
- 4×05: Der Kaufmann (The Merchant; Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan)
- 4×06: Deal mit dem Teufel (Deal with the Devil; Right + Wrong + Both + Neither)
- 4×07: Mörderisches Date (Murderous Date, Mac + Desi + Riley + Aubrey)
- 4×08: tba (Father + Son + Father + Matriarch)
There’s also reruns of Seasons 2 and 3 on both Swiss and Austrian TV channels, so the reboot is apparently doing well enough to keep it on the evening and night schedule.
MacGyver around the World
The Season 3 DVD was released in several countries outside the US recently. The international versions contain a Gag Reel and Deleted Scenes. Season 4 had its premiere in the UK on July 26 (on Sky One).