CBS has given a pilot green light to The Equalizer, a reimagining of the classic series with Queen Latifah starring and executive producing. The project, which had a big pilot production commitment and had been considered a shoo-in for a pickup, hails from Take Two creators Andrew Marlowe & Terri Miller, Davis Entertainment, Flavor Unit, Martin Chase Productions, Universal Television and CBS TV Studios.
Written by Marlowe and Miller, who will serve as showrunners, The Equalizer stars Queen Latifah as an enigmatic figure who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. This is a new take on the character played by Edward Woodward on the original series and by Denzel Washington in the movie franchise.
Marlowe, creator of ABC’s long-running hit Castle, and Miller executive produce alongside John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment; Debra Martin Chase of Martin Chase Productions; Richard Lindheim, co-creator of the original Equalizer TV series; as well as Queen Latifah (real name Dana Owens) and Shakim Compere of Flavor Unit. Universal TV produces in association with CBS TV Studios.
This marks The Equalizer‘s return to CBS. The original TV series, which Lindheim co-created with Michael Sloan, aired on the network for four seasons from 1985-89. It starred Woodward as Robert McCall, a retired intelligence agent with a mysterious past who uses the skills from his former career to exact justice on behalf of innocent people who are trapped in dangerous circumstances.
The series was adapted as a feature in 2014. The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Washington as McCall, was a hit and spawned a sequel, The Equalizer 2, which was released in 2018.
Universal Television produced the original Equalizer series, while Sony did the features. Mounting an Equalizer reboot had been a priority for Universal TV over the past four to five years. There had been multiple unsuccessful attempts as dealmaking had proven difficult in the past.
This time, Uni TV employed some of the top producers on its roster — Davis Entertainment and Chase — as well as a big-name star in Queen Latifah and experienced writer-producers in Marlowe and Miller to help bring the iconic title back to TV.
Marlowe was the creator, executive producer and showrunner of Castle, on which Miller was executive producer. Most recently, the pair created and ran ABC’s summer show Take Two.
At CBS, Davis Entertainment has sophomore drama series Magnum PI.