There’s still no filming date for Season 5, but we have some information about upcoming storylines.
(Spoiler Alert: You will get spoilered about Season 5 storylines 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.)
Premiere Date Speculations On October 13, CBS announced premiere dates for 10 of their shows; followed by some new key art, press releases and teaser trailers. Sadly, MacGyver was not on the list. On October 21, CBS announced the return of an additional 5 of their shows. Again, MacGyver was not on the list.
I speculated a few months ago that CBS might want to set a premiere date for the entire Friday lineup, and now it seems that this is indeed their plan. Considering that Blue Bloods just started filming around October 5, they don’t have any episodes ready to air yet. It’s also possible that they wait in case another production has to be put on hiatus or is benched for the rest of the season, so they can quickly readjust the schedule (though it’s more likely they will put in reruns instead).
Initially, CBS had scheduled more episodes of The Greatest AtHome Videos and Undercover Boss on Fridays; followed by Blue Bloods Reruns up to November 20. They later replaced the timeslots with reruns of MacGyver and Magnum up until mid-December. The schedule is not set in stone, however. Since CBS usually has special programming set for Thanksgiving weekend, it doesn’t look very likely for MacGyver to premiere before December, though – which would mean 3 episodes at most until Christmas Break.
According to a tweet by the Magnum PI Writers, the premiere was planned to happen before the end of the year. Apparently, cast member Amy Hill also mentioned on social media that the Magnum premiere is planned for December. Guess all we can do is wait and see. If it was a pandemic-free year, MacGyver might have been benched for midseason anyway, despite the cancellation of Hawaii Five-0.
All you need to know about Season 5
CBS has upgraded its logo a bit and posted new “title cards” for their shows, but used an Official Still of Episode 4×08 for MacGyver. It’s understandable that they’re now busy promoting the shows that have a premiere in November, but it’s still disappointing for fans of the reboot. After all, they have material of 6 ready-to-air-episodes to choose from – episodes that have been filmed half a year ago.
We did get news about upcoming storylines, though. TV Guide Magazine has a tradition for Fall Preview Teasers by providing information about the season openers. While they did use an Official Still of Episode 4×02, new Showrunner Monica Macer warned that Codex is still a threat. According to the article about the Season 5 Opener, Codex kidnaps Russ Taylor; demanding a prisoner exchange for Murdoc. (Note: This is most likely about the episode written with production number 501 that has yet to be filmed, titled “Telescope + S-218 + Amplifier + Frenemies + Fog”.) The fans weren’t very excited about the prospect of a love triangle between Mac, Desi and Riley, however.
On October 14, The Washington Post published an article about CBS shows remaking its police shows for the Black Lives Matter era. In short interview snippets with Monica Macer, we got a few teasers about an upcoming storyline. As Macer states, the writing team has no agenda to abolish or diminish police departments.
“We’re a fun show about stopping the threat of the day with some witty banter,” she said. But, she added, “as a society, we’re also at an inflection point, and I’m not afraid to lean into that.”
(Monica Macer for The Washington Post, October 2020)
According to the article, MacGyver will hash out questions of racial justice, police defunding and the long-standing contradictions of being a Black police officer in America with a friend.
Presumably, this friend will be Wilt Bozer. And here’s an additional Spoiler Alert: We’re finally meeting Bozers family!
Macer says she has drawn on her own experience as a woman of color. In an upcoming episode, MacGyver (…) will talk with the father of his friend Wilt Bozer, who also plays a paternal role for him, about the elder Bozer’s inner conflict as a Black police officer. The show may also explore the tensions between the elder Bozer and his wife, active in city politics, over the defund-the-police debate.
(The Washington Post, October 2020)
ICYMI: Back in July, the writers promised us a “real teaser” when reaching 8000 followers on Twitter. They reached that goal on October 16. This Monday, the writers gave us 3 Spoilers for our efforts:
Mac & Riley become linked in an unexpected way
We’ll meet the parents of TWO characters
Russ gets a love interest
Of course, these teaser-spoiler led to a lot of fan activity and speculations on social media.
What’s going to happen now?
Most scripted CBS crime/drama shows and some of the CBS comedies have successfully started filming. On October 12, Justin Hires travelled to LA. In an Instagram Live Video, he revealed that they have gotten a filming date and will start up pretty soon.
Tristin Mays had visited Houston before her arrival in Atlanta and it looks like she settled in until they start production. Justin arrived in Atlanta on Monday. The location of Levy Tran’s workout videos has changed, so she might be back already as well. There’s still no Casting Calls yet, and the stage hasn’t been opened up yet, but it looks like the cast and crew is gathering to prep for production.
On October 20, Heather R. Kritzer posted via Facebook that she’s travelling to Atlanta for MacGyver Season 5. Her main credits on IMDb are for Second Unit Director, Assistant Director and Producer; so she might either direct the first episode or stay on the show for the season.
Here’s the upcoming reruns schedule:
Friday, November 13: Loyalty + Family + Rogue + Hellfire (4×12)
Friday, November 20: tba
Friday, November 27: tba
Friday, December 4: tba
Friday, December 11: tba
Friday, December 18: tba
Note that this schedule is not definite until an official Press Release by CBS. And sometimes, not even after the Press Release of an episode *lol*. But it can’t hurt to tune in live for these reruns and/or talk about it on social media and make some noise; letting CBS know that we’re eager for new material.
What are Cast and Crew up to? On October 15, CBS celebrated Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth. Last year, the cast took a photo in the War Room. This year, alongside the cast and crew of several CBS shows, Levy Tran, Lucas Till and Meredith Eaton took selfies while wearing the purple shirts.
There’s no release date yet for Lucas Till’s movie Son of the South in the US. Interestingly, both Allociné and Cineday Orange list the release date for France as March 10, 2021.
ICYMI: A few weeks ago, Lucas did a very interesting, hour-long video podcast with actor Billy Gallo (presumably recorded in September), talking about his career and acting in general, but also about filming MacGvyer under Ex-Showrunner Peter Lenkov.
Best of TV Awards: Nomination Phase The Reboot is soon competing again in the “Best of TV Awards” held by Canada Graphs. As usual, the automatic nominees list includes eligible finalists and semi-finalists from the 2019 awards; as well as eligible winners from prior years. Therefore, the regular cast is already listed in most of the categories. The nomination thread is still open.
Only three more episodes to film for Season 4. In the meantime, fans are still a bit disappointed about not getting a Halloween episode tonight like the other shows on the CBS Friday lineup.
(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
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).
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 presumably Peter Weller (as Mason).
4×08: (title tba)
Presumably directed by David Straiton
Guest appearance by Keith David.
To recap my last blog post about the ongoing production: Filming for Episode 4×08 had started on September 24; with the cast filming at Chattahoochee Hills and at the Yanmar Evo Center in Acworth plus in the War Room and in MacGyver’s house. Both Justin Hires and Henry Ian Cusick posted a nice photo with guest star Keith David, but we don’t know yet what role he will play. Maybe we finally get to meet Bozer’s dad?
Finishing touches on Episode 4×09
Filming for the still untitled Episode 4×09 started around October 5. For several days, they filmed at Plant Sherer. Since some of the crew members and Extras had tagged Vogtle Nuclear Plant in photos and Instagram Stories a few days before and the crew complained about how loud it was at Plant Sherer, it’s possible that they used two different plants for the inside and outside locations.
On October 14, they wrapped up filming the episode after shooting some more War Room scenes. While Lucas Till was mostly absent, the rest of the characters looked rather grim when filming scenes, so we can probably brace ourselves for some drama nearing the end of the season.
Working on Episode 4×10 and beyond
On October 12, Co-Showrunner Terry Matalas had posted an interesting photo of Lucas Till and Levy Tran in an old-looking painting with Lucas holding a light bulb. As it turned out, the painting is part of the set used for Episode 4×10, directed by the Swiss-Tibetan Yangzom Brauen. Filming started on October 15 in the War Room, but the BtS material was anything but boring. For once, they had medical equipment nearby. Second, it seems they’re filming an episode that is set in another timeline. Showrunner Peter Lenkov posted a nice editing room photo of Lucas filming with a character looking like Nikola Tesla.
A photo uploaded by Terry Matalas several days later confirmed that it’s Tesla; also hinting at Bell, Edison and Tesla having been part of DXS (the predecessor of the Phoenix Foundation).
On October 17, the cast joined other CBS shows for Spirit Day, posing in purple t-shirts to make a stand against bullying. Meredith Eaton also uploaded a nice photo of her with Tristin Mays and Levy Tran; labelling it “Tenacious Triad”. Justin Hires added a nice team photo as well. They continued filming a 1920s party scene as seen on Instagram stories and photos by Scottie Thompson or by Ramon De Ocampo.
Filming picked up again on October 21. Tristin Mays filmed on location with Levy Tran and Henry Ian Cusick on Monday and with Lucas Till on Tuesday. Apparently, they had cockroach visitors on set and had a car rigged for some driving scenes.
The next day, Levy and Lucas rehearsed for scenes in MacGvyer’s kitchen. It looked like Desi will cook chicken-noodle-broth for Mac. In another scene in a different location, they lit a shovel handle on fire. A day later, they had two rats in a cage on location. Sadly, the cast and crew mostly post Instagram stories lately and not BtS photos in good quality. With no episode titles to go by, all these snippets feel like an extra weird episode with seemingly random MacGyverisms. I’m sure it will all make sense in the end.
Yesterday, they filmed night scenes with some very interesting looking cars from the 1920s, as seen in Insta stories and on a photo posted by Peter Lenkov. They will probably start on Episode 4×11 today.
Cast and crew also uploaded a few BtS photos that could have been taken while filming other episodes; e.g. Justin Hires a photo of himself with Meredith Eaton or Levy Tran a photo of herself with Tristin Mays, Meredith and “MacGyver’s piggy”.
Other Cast, Crew and Character News The Guest Stars don’t seem to post much this season – and if they do, they don’t tag the posts so they’re not that easy to find.
Matthew Albright (the main Stand-In for Lucas Till) revealed that he has filmed some stunt scenes as well; consisting of being thrown at a wall.
MacGyver in Austria
In Austria, the ratings for Season 2 stay rather low. To recap: Episode 2×14 garnered 31’000 live-viewers, followed by Episode 2×15 with 38’000 live-viewers. Episode 2×16 (Hammock + Balcony) had 29’000 live viewers, followed by Episode 2×17 (Bear Trap + Mob Boss) with 42’000 live-viewers.
CBS Fall TV Season Ratings
It’s been 5 weeks of Fall TV. Lets take another look at the ratings – especially the ratings of the hour-long rookie shows and the crime shows not cancelled yet. The ratings are interesting because…
…the fate of the other CBS crime/drama shows will determine what timeslot Season 4 of the Reboot might air in and when the premiere will happen.
…the average ratings of the other shows might determine if MacGyver gets another season or not: The better they do, the lower the chance of MacGyver coming back for Season 5.
…the average ratings of the other shows might determine how many episodes MacGyver gets for Season 5 in case it’s renewed: The better the other shows do, the less likely for the Reboot to get a full season order and to air in Fall.
The fate of the rookie shows is usually decided at the latest in what’s called November Sweeps. The sweep came early for CBS this year: On October 23, CBS announced that they just renewed Evil for a second season, and handed out full-season back-orders to its other four freshman series, including All Rise. While this is good news for the rookie shows, it’s not really good news for MacGyver since there aren’t many potential timeslots for January left. Even worse, the “acceptable” timeslots in January just got reduced to basically zero.
At the moment, rookie show All Rise (Monday 9pm) has an average demo of 0.64 and 5.48 million live-viewers per episode.
Verdict: Mondays have been rather difficult for CBS in recent years. The demo for All Rise was lower than the one for Magnum PI in the same timeslot last year. It’s doing a bit better in audience than rookie show Evil, but the numbers are still rather low. Compared to the demos of all other CBS shows, All Rise is on Rank 15 (out of 20) at the moment. Therefore, the back-order of an additional 9 episodes came as a bit of surprise for most prediction sites.
MacGyver would have been a candidate for this slot in January, but so were at least two of the other midseason shows. Now that All Rise got a full season, the timeslot will stay occupied into Spring with new episodes and probably with reruns during hiatus (unless the show gets cancelled if the ratings drop further). It’s safe to say that Mondays 9pm is not an option for the Reboot anymore.
The average per episode for Bull (Monday 10pm) is a demo of 0.65 and 6.08 million live-viewers.
Verdict: Since it’s a candidate for a syndication deal and gained a bit in demo over the last few weeks, it will most likely stay in this slot. All the other prediction sites have it as “likely to be renewed”.
The new season of NCIS (Tuesday 8pm) is still doing well with an average of 1.19 in demo and 11.70 million live-viewers per episode.
Verdict: NCIS is 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. CBS will keep it going for as long as possible.
FBI (Tuesday 9pm): The average per episode is a demo of 0.89 and 8.92 million live-viewers.
Verdict: Compared to last season, FBI has the second-lowest demo-drop and is almost even in audience. At the moment, it still seems to be the only crime show that could last longer than five seasons with more than 5 million viewers. CBS will hold onto it as long as they can; not putting it in danger by moving it around on the schedule.
The average per episode for NCIS: New Orleans (Tuesday 10pm) is a demo of 0.71 and 6.93 million live-viewers at the moment.
Verdict: Compared to last season, the losses in both demo and audience are one of the lowest. 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. No matter what, it doesn’t seem very likely for MacGyver to air on Tuesdays.
SEAL Team (Wednesday 9pm): At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.66 and 4.75 million live-viewers.
Verdict: While audience numbers aren’t that great, the demo is still acceptable. As mentioned before, they put the show on a month-long hiatus last year; leading to a ratings drop that SEAL Team never bounced back from. According to this Deadline article from May, they might do it again for Criminal Minds. Because SWAT is failing, they could choose to put SWAT on hiatus instead – or to put both shows on hiatus. At the moment, it looks like MacGyver is still a candidate for this slot – at least if they plan to air it in Winter.
At the moment, the average per episode for SWAT (Wednesday 10pm) is a demo of 0.56 and 3.77 million live-viewers.
Verdict: There are 20 CBS Fall shows airing at the moment. SWAT is at Rank 19 when looking at the demo and at Rank 20 for audience. Not very great. CBS rarely cancels crime shows before they reach Season 4 once they made it past the first season, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe from being demoted to midseason, moved to another timeslot or having to endure a break. Its fate might depend on the co-producing network – if they keep paying for it, CBS might keep it. The timeslot is not a good option for MacGyver anyway.
Rookie show Evil (Thursday 10pm) continues to struggle with audience numbers, but managed to raise its demo ratings last week. At the moment, the average per episode is a demo of 0.61 and 4.14 million live-viewers.
Verdict: Despite being placed at Rank 16 (of 20) in demo, the show got renewed for a second season already. Interestingly, the first season will conclude after 13 episodes on January 30. I still think that the show was misplaced and might get another timeslot next year; maybe even moved to CBS All Access – hence the reduced season order. Like MacGyver, it could end up being pushed to midseason; used as a filler show.
If they skip reruns, there will be an open timeslot on Thursday 10pm, starting in February. Nevertheless, MacGyver isn’t a good candidate for this slot.
Veteran show Hawaii Five-0 (Friday 8pm) has an average demo of 0.66 and 6.76 million live-viewers per episode.
Verdict: The entire Friday line-up of all networks had taken a little hit last week with the NFL going on at the same time. But when looking at demo ratings, H50 is still the best show of the CBS Friday line-up. If CBS insists on keeping Magnum as well, they might let H50 stay in this slot next year.
On the other hand, 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.
Magnum PI (Friday 9pm): While a ratings drop in demo for the second season was to be expected, it’s still more than CBS bargained for. The average per episode is a demo of 0.56 and 6.18 million live-viewers at the moment; placing it at Rank 18 of all scripted CBS shows .
Verdict: Although Magnum is the only CBS Fall show to gain in audience numbers, the demo is still a bit concerning. Since it’s a co-production, the fate of the show might depend on how long NBCU is willing to keep paying for it. But CBS seems to like it and has invested in more promo (e.g. commercials during other bigger-rated shows like FBI; more Official Stills and Sneak Peeks). If H50 gets renewed, it’s probably safe. On the other hand, a renewal might not keep it safe from being demoted to midseason. As stated above, they could forego reruns in favor of reruns of H50 or of new episodes for MacGyver.
For veteran show Blue Bloods (Friday 10pm), the average per episode is 0.62 in demo and 7.59 million live-viewers. It’s only Rank 16 (out of 20) when looking at all the scripted Fall shows sorted for demo, but Rank 4 when looking at audience.
Verdict: While the audience loss compared to last season is as expected, the demo dropped by 22%. Lead-in Magnum is still dragging it down. Blue Bloods is old and expensive, but it has international and syndication deals in place and is still in a better position for a renewal than many other shows.
Veteran NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday 9pm) has an average demo of 0.73 and 6.55 million live-viewers per episode.
Verdict: 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 (Sunday 10pm) will be done after airing 10 episodes; meaning that there will be a vacant timeslot by January at the latest.
Verdict: While other networks used to think of Friday as the “death slot”, Sunday has slowly been taking over in that role. 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.
CBS Midseason Schedule
Yesterday, FOX had already announced their midseason schedule. Now that the fate of the CBS rookies is known, we probably won’t have to wait too long for the CBS midseason schedule reveal.
At the moment, there’s only two definite timeslots to open in January and/or February, though: Thursdays 10pm and Sundays 10pm. There’s a good chance these slots are waiting for other rookie shows. This means either MacGyver premieres in Spring or there will be a schedule change with another Fall show going on hiatus to make room for the Reboot. The most likely option for this at the moment would be Wednesday, with Friday being the less likely option. There’s also speculation that CBS might open Saturdays again because they have too many shows and not enough slots. Some shows (e.g. Evil or SWAT) do very well in DVR ratings, but that’s not bringing in any commercial money like live-TV. There’s a chance for one or two shows to be moved to CBS All Access instead.
Overall, none of those options are good for the Reboot and the competition within the CBS shows will be harsh this year. Stay tuned.