IRISH EXAMINER – Lethal Weapon’s new TV reboot will be the first US series broadcast in primetime on ITV in three years.
The adaptation of the 1987 Mel Gibson and Danny Glover hit movie marks the return of US-acquired content on the main channel. The last programme to feature in such a prominent slot was spy drama The Americans in 2013.
Scheduled for an autumn premiere in the US, Lethal Weapon centres around the partnership between an unlikely cop duo in Los Angeles.
Clayne Crawford, a cast member of US drama Rectify, takes on Gibson’s role as Martin Riggs, while Roger Murtaugh is played by Damon Wayans, best known for family comedy My Wife And Kids.
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, said he is “absolutely delighted” to bring Lethal Weapon to the main channel.
He said: “It’s rare that we find an acquisition with that sweet spot potential – the best production values and hugely entertaining drama, that we think can appeal to the biggest and broadest audiences and take up a place in ITV primetime.”
He added: “We saw Lethal Weapon and were immediately excited by what it could add to the ITV schedule, and we’re really looking forward to bringing the series to UK viewers.”
In the series, family man and by-the-book LAPD detective Murtaugh is back at work after a near fatal heart attack. His doctor has told him to keep his stress levels under control, but that will not be easy as he has been paired with ex-Navy Seal-turned-detective Riggs.
During their first case, hot-headed Riggs drags conventional cop Murtaugh on a high-speed chase and into a shoot-out with drug dealers.
Meanwhile, Riggs is given a glimpse of why Murtaugh is so determined to get home safely at the end of each day – his family includes a newborn baby. Murtaugh will discover that Riggs’ reckless attitude to work masks his grief; he lost his young wife and unborn child.
ITV’s acclaimed acquisition The Americans was originally broadcast in the 10pm slot, but the show struggled in the ratings and was dropped after two seasons.
Starring American actress Keri Russell and Welsh star Matthew Rhys, it currently features on the commercial broadcaster’s subscription channel ITV Encore.
Prior to The Americans, in 2008 Anna Friel’s Pushing Daisies was the first imported US drama to air in peaktime since Millennium.
Chris Carter’s follow-up to The X-Files made its ITV debut in 1997, but Millennium ended in 1999.