MacGyver Reboot Update #100

Filming for the rest of the Season 4 episodes is ongoing and we have already some BtS photos and videos taken on set to enjoy. Also, we finally got promo news; including a trailer!

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Lucas Till)

(Minor Spoiler Alert: You might 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 Storyline and Promo News
We’re getting closer: Season 4 will premiere in 3 weeks! That’s still a bit of a wait. Good thing: We already got some exciting promo material! On January 7, they released a red logo with black writing; promising that we will find out what this means in exactly a month. Of course, the photo had everyone guessing about it being the new logo for the Phoenix Foundation, for HIT or another bad organization; starting chatter on social media and having the fandom all excited.

Teaser-Logo for Season 4 (via CBS)

On January 10, we finally got a “real” Season 4 preview. In the 30-seconds-trailer, there’s already a lot of material packed in. In a quick pace, we see MacGyver transfer from one airplane into another, saving Riley from an out-of-control-missile (hopefully defunct) tumbling down the stairs, and the team sneaking into a party being all-dressed-up while undercover. Judging by the BtS material we’ve seen in Summer, they took scenes from the first four episodes.

According to an exclusive preview via TV Line, Season 4 will pick up 18 months after the Phoenix Foundation was disbanded and the team members were stripped of their high-level clearances. Apparently, everyone in former Team Phoenix has turned to run-of-the-mill day jobs (e.g. MacGyver to a teaching position). That “ordinary” existence is put on hold when Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick), an eccentric billionaire with a shady past, comes to them for help stopping an imminent attack. Realizing they must get back in the game without the resources of Phoenix, the reassembled team is put on the trail of a centuries-old apocalyptic conspiracy that is determined to save humanity from itself.

Screenshot of the Season 4 Preview (via TV Line)

Yesterday, we got the Press Release and a First Still for the Season Premiere Episode via SpoilerTV. The Still wasn’t all that exciting (MacGyver and Russ in the car), but CBS later uploaded 25 more Stills onto their press site which was a pleasant surprise. The synopsis doesn’t reveal too much yet and reads as follows:

Ex-MI6 agent Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) recruits former Phoenix Foundation members Mac, Riley, Bozer, Matty and Desi to hunt down a bioweapon that’s planned to be used by a mysterious organization for a devastating attack on a major U.S. city.

If CBS follows their Fall promo schedule for midseason shows, there should be another trailer and some video clips about a week before the Premiere. There have been hints about a photoshoot and some interviews, not to forget Lucas Till attending the Corus Upfronts in Toronto back in June, so there should be more promo stuff coming soon.

In other news, Production Design Company Keith Neely had uploaded several Season 4 photos onto their website a few weeks ago. While tweeting about the photos didn’t have any consequences, other accounts re-posting the photos onto Instagram while tagging the official Keith Neely Production account soon led to the photos being deleted. Let’s hope they’ll upload the photos again onto the website once they’re allowed to.

Episode 4×01: Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix (via SpoilerTV)

Season 4 Episode Overview
There’s still not a lot of info listed on IMDb (cast and crew), on TraktTV or similar sites (episode titles) and on The Futon Critic (airdates). Below, there’s the usual overview of the upcoming episodes with the most important infos we have so far. Just remember: Episode titles and airdates are not definite until an official Press Release by CBS. The episode filmed as 4×02 is actually the first one to premiere; meaning that “temporary” Executive Producer Terry Matalas had the honor of writing the Season 4 Opener.

  • 4×01 (filmed as 4×02): Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix (February 7)
    Written by Terry Matalas, directed by David Straiton
  • 4×02 (filmed as 4×01): Red Cell (+ Quantum) + Cold + Committed (February 14)
    Directed by Alexandra La Roche
  • 4×03: Kid + Plane + Cable + Truck (February 21)
    Directed by Lily Mariye
  • 4×04: Windmill + Acetone + Celluloid + Firing Pin (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
  • 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)
    Directed by Carlos Bernard
  • 4×14: (title tba)
    (tba)
  • 4×15: Resort + Desi + Riley + Witness
    Written by Stephanie Hicks, directed by Avi Youabian

Working on Episode 4×14
Filming for Episode 4×14 started on Monday, January 6. Justin Hires provided us with a few Instagram Short Stories right on the first day on set; showing us his “syndication smile” in between filming some scenes with Meredith Eaton in the War Room.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Meredith Eaton)

Within the first few days, we got several additional goodies; e.g. BtS photos by Henry Ian Cusick, by Meredith Eaton and by Lucas Till. So far, there weren’t many BtS photos by guest stars and extras, but Drew Lamkins (who might have a small part as a bad guy) posted a selfie with Lucas on January 9. Tristin Mays had quickly deleted her Instagram Stories hinting at a photoshoot being underway, but Justin confirmed in another video that there are new promo portraits coming soon. Cast and Crew already had their first nightshoot last Friday while filming at the Governor’s mansion. During the early morning hours, we got a video by Lucas showing us how “boring” the filming process is.

Working on Episode 4×15 and beyond
On January 14, Justin Hires revealed the title for Episode 4×15 (Resort + Desi + Riley + Witness) and that he still needed to learn his lines; despite the early morning hours. The episode is directed by Avi Youabian (who also directed Episode 3×14). Filming presumably started yesterday with Justin Hires and Meredith Eaton setting up for some more War Room scenes. Additionally, they filmed some wire-work scenes with stunt doubles.

Screenshot of the Season 4 Preview (via TV Line)

Interestingly, Justin also filmed the “empty-looking” fire place set; stating that he misses filming scenes in MacGyvers house and the “gold old days”. Maybe the set hasn’t been “unpacked” since the Christmas hiatus, but it definitely looked deserted. Indeed, Justin has been filming mostly on the War Room set this season and hasn’t been spotted on location very often.

Crew, Cast and Character News
I had expected a steady stream of Casting Calls right after the hiatus, but there hasn’t been much “traffic” yet. Central Casting Georgia has been looking for some more Ballet Girls, for Auction BGs and for a Female Fit Model. They’ve also been looking for a Photo-Double for Zach Hanner and for a Stand-In for Richard Garner. Also, Tristin May’s boyfriend Jessie T Usher has a guest-role as “Vincent” in the current episode.

Interestingly, Executive Producer Terry Matalas just got assigned as showrunner for Season 2 of “Star Trek: Picard” on CBS All Access. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matalas has been pulled off the Reboot. It’s not clear yet if that means that Matalas is out completely for the back-order of the 9 episodes they’re still filming or if he’s staying involved as a producer (maybe in name only). To be honest, I’m not sure yet another EP change is a good thing. So far, we haven’t officially heard about the show getting a new co-showrunner (although on the script title page for Episode 4×15, there’s a new name been added onto the producers list).

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Christopher Jon Duddy)

Season 4 Storyline Predictions
The show being pushed to midseason, the personnel changes in the team of producers and writers plus the late back-order for more episodes might have several consequences. In my last blog post, I wrote an extensive section about these circumstances and how they might influence the season. Here’s a short overview – now including some revisions due to all the new information we got in the last few weeks:

  • (At least) Two Main Storylines: Since the story-arc was initially written for 13 episodes, I always expected the season to be cut into two main storylines after the back-up order for 9 more episodes.

Now that Season 4 will start with a time-jump of 18 months since Episode 3×22 and the fact that EP Terry Matalas has been pulled off the show, it’s possible that there will be even 3 main storylines. The first half of the 13 initially ordered episodes might deal with the fallout and flashbacks of why Team Phoenix was disbanded. With writers and producers initially not knowing if the show gets some more episodes ordered or not, Team Phoenix is probably back to business after a few episodes – especially when considering how much BtS material we got of the cast filming in the War Room.

Screenshot of the Season 4 Preview (via TV Line)

EP Matalas wrote the Season Premiere Episode and probably set the tone for the 13 episodes. Now that he’s already gone, they might have taken up yet another story-arc and maybe even introduce another new villain for the rest of the season.

  • No Holiday-Related Episodes: There probably won’t be any holiday-related episodes. Being pushed to midseason, any premiere date between January and April was a possibility. They probably avoided having to air a Halloween- or Christmas-related episode in Spring or Summer.

That said, by using a time-jump we still might be able to get some short holiday-related scenes in flashbacks.

  • Changes in recurring guest-stars: It’s possible that some of the recurring guest stars aren’t available for the production of the rest of the episodes – or that their characters have already been written out in the first half of the season. I expected this to be the case for Tate Donovan (as James MacGyver) or Peter Weller (as Mason) who have only been sighted once on set so far, but also for actors who haven’t been sighted on set yet like Reign Edwards (as Leanna) or Lance Gross (as Billy Colton). There’s also the possibility of bringing back a guest star despite the storyline for this character being “finished” in the first half of the season or in a previous season.

The decision to have 4×01 starting with such a long time-jump only fuels this prediction because the writers (and producers) now can change the history of the characters and the relationships between them however they please; getting a “blank slate” to start anew without having to show us how it happened.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Henry Ian Cusick)

FIrst example is the relationship between MacGyver and Desi. The last few episodes hinted at a beginning romance between these two characters. If they decided to go on with it, we might see Mac and Desi in an already established relationship; living together in Mac’s house. It’s an easy (and also lazy) way to skip over the usual building of romance and trust between two characters. Instead of “wasting” screentime on the two going on dates and kissing for the first time for several episodes; being unsure if dating a co-worker is the right decision by the middle of the season and discussing if they should move in together by the end of the season, they can get right into the main storyline without having to deal with all this “romantic stuff”; robbing the “MacDesi” fans of experiencing the slow burn and dance-around-each-other-part that many TV shows love to deliver.

Likewise, if they came to the decision to have another romantic interest for MacGyver instead, they can just tell us they dated and broke off or that the first date never led to anything more. In fact, they can add whatever romantic history between any of the characters without having to show us the beginning (or the potential ending and the characters dealing with it) since it all happened off-screen – only to bring it back later when it suits them to add tension.

Screenshot of the Season 4 Preview (via TV Line)

It also means that the writers don’t have to deal at all with characters played by actors that aren’t available this season. lnstead of trying to find explanations for Leanna’s absence, they can just tell us that Leanna and Bozer broke it off a long time ago. That also means that they can introduce new characters (e.g. a new girlfriend for Bozer) whenever they want or bring back characters without coming back to their storyline happening last season (e.g. Murdoc or Helman who might have broken out of prison months ago). Also, the time-jump is a very handy tool to “deal” with the absence of Jack Dalton. They could have someone mention Jack being retired at some farm in Texas; happily married and/or with kids.

  • Fluctuation in Quality: The back-order for the additional episodes to make it a full season was rather late. I doubt it’s easy to provide 9 more scripts as quickly as possible so the crew can start on location scouting and preparing sets and costumes. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect the second half of the season to be of a bit lower quality with a rushed feel to it and unnecessary plot twists to fit in a second story-arc.

Considering that co-showrunner Terry Matalas has probably already been pulled off for the rest of the season, I don’t just expect a difference in quality, but also in tone and style and the choice of guest-stars since Matalas brought a lot of people he had already worked with during the show 12 Monkeys.

Screenshot of the Season 4 Preview (via TV Line)

Best of TV Awards: Round 1 Voting still open
The Reboot is competing in the “Best of TV Awards” held by Canada Graphs.

Reminder: In Round 1, you can vote as many times as you want. If the show is not available to choose from the list, you can add a new entry nominee into the “other” box at the bottom of the category. Your choice will be added as soon as several votes have come in. These are the categories to keep an eye on in Round 1:

  • Best Recurring Actor/Actress (George Eads, Tate Donovan, Reign Edwards)
  • Favorite Show
  • Best Guest Actor/Actress (David Dastmalchian, Michael Des Barres; closed)
  • Best Director (Brad Turner for Episode 3×13, closed)
  • Best Episode (Episodes 3×11, 3×13, 3×22; closed)
  • Favorite Character (Mac, Jack, Riley, Bozer; closed)
  • Best Writing (closed)
  • Best Stunts (closed)
  • Best Non-Human Character or Prop (Sparky; closed)
  • Best Couple (Bozer + Leanna; closed)

Season 3 DVD and other merchandise
The Season 3 DVD was released on January 14. If you haven’t done so, you can order it via Amazon US at a great price (it’s still on sale with 50% off).

Season 3 DVD Back Cover (via Bob’s Movie Review)

Sadly, there was no information about the contents to be found. It wasn’t before January 9 that we even got a glimpse of the back cover. So of course, we already suspected that the Season 3 DVD would turn out to be the same “naked” version as the one for Season 1, and we were right. The US version of the Season 3 DVD doesn’t contain any Extras or special features.

Although expected, this is a big disappointment; considering CBS put Extras on all their recent DVDs and Season 3 had been aired as a Fall show with decent ratings last year. There’s no information yet about the DVD release overseas, so we can only hope that the international distributors will be kinder than Lionsgate.

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.

MacGyver Reboot Update #94

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 for Spirit Day (via MacGyverCBS)

(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.
  • 4×09: (title tba)
    Written by Brandon Botta and Casey Tollett Botta, directed by Mike Martinez
  • 4×10: (title tba)
    Directed by Yangzom Brauen

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Terry Matalas)

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Peter Lenkov)

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Justin Hires)

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Levy Tran)

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.

There weren’t many casting calls lately. In the last two weeks, Central Casting Georgia has been looking for male Prisoner Guards, for a Real Nurse, for Caucasians between 20 and 40 for a “fun exclusive party scene“, for Asian Guards, for an Asian Prisoner, for Techs and Agents and for male Medics physically fit enough to push someone on a gurney. They also had a casting call for Stage Hands, Make Up Artists, Medics and Techs and the usual calls for Photo Doubles (e.g. for Ramon De Ocampo) and Stand-Ins.

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Lucas Till)

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.

CBS Fall 2019 Schedule (via World Screen)

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Justin Hires)

The TV Ratings Guide predicts SEAL Team as likely to be renewed. SpoilerTV also puts it into their looking safe section.

  • 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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Terry Matalas)

SpoilerTV puts SWAT into the yellow danger/bubble zone, but the TV Ratings Guide predicts the show as likely to be renewed.

  • 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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Peter Lenkov)

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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Christopher Jon Duddy)

The TV Ratings Guide changed its prediction for Magnum PI from likely to be cancelled to a toss-up for renewal. SpoilerTV has it still in their green looking safe zone.

  • 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.

BtS photo of Season 4 (via Scottie Thompson)

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.