Angela Lansbury Says NBC's Murder, She Wrote Remake Is a 'Mistake' — Find Out Why

Get More: Controversy, Pilots

Murder She Wrote Remake MistakeThe offing of NBC’s planned Murder, She Wrote remake is a mystery Angela Lansbury might not mind one day solving.

Lansbury, who amassed 12 Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe wins during her 12-season run as mystery write/solver Jessica Fletcher, takes issue with NBC’s plan to reboot the CBS series — if only because of, you know, the title.

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“I think it’s a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote,” Lansbury tells the Associated Press, “because Murder, She Wrote will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place.

“[They] also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person,” she continues. “So I’m sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though … it’s their right.”

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NBC’s new take on Murder, which is only at the pilot stage, stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as  a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who, after self-publishing her first mystery novel, sets out to help solve real-life crimes.

Lansbury hails her would-be successor as “absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress,” having seen Spencer’s acclaimed turn in The Help. “So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn’t in Murder, She Wrote.”

The Jessica Fletcher has spoken. Will NBC listen?



Comments (81)

  • She’s right, they should just present it as a new show and not try to pass it off as a remake when it isn’t one. Murder She Wrote is so iconic, leave it be NBC. Just give Spencer her own show, she’s good enough to carry it without any gimmicks of this type.

    Comment by Pam – November 11, 2013 07:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Let’s face it, Murder She Wrote isn’t exactly a classic – it’s a formulaic mystery of the week show along the same lines as Matlock or Diagnosis Murder. I can’t bring myself to get too worked up over NBC using the title as a springboard for what will no doubt be ANOTHER formulaic mystery of the week show (albeit seemingly with a bit of a satirical take on the premise, with the writer being ‘self-published’ and all).

      Comment by Tony Baker (@TonyBaker79) – November 11, 2013 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She sounds racist and bitter. Octavia is going to be amazing! Can’t wait. Hope the shows has elements of comedy, drama, mystery, thriller, action etc. because Octavia is great at comedy (Ugly Betty!).

    Comment by sassy1234 – November 11, 2013 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • WHAT?

      Comment by STEVE – November 11, 2013 07:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Is this supposed to be a spoof post?
      Racist & Bitter?

      Oh, I didn’t realise that complimenting an actress these days meant you were a racist. My bad.

      Comment by Brian (@TheFifthDoctor) – November 11, 2013 07:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • …why on earth does she sound racist?

      Comment by S – November 11, 2013 07:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, she was freakin’ hilarious in Ugly Betty !

      Comment by Elga Nelly – November 11, 2013 07:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How in the world does she sound racist? Honestly, I’m curious, because I don’t see a single racist word or overtone in her comments.

      Comment by CH – November 11, 2013 07:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Racist and bitter? Did you even read what she said in this post?

      Comment by Marc Rocheleau – November 11, 2013 07:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • if you disagree or don’t like a concept that involves a black person there are those that will call you a racist. I don’t like Obama I disagree with a lot of what he does and I get called a racist, nevernind the fact Colin Powell is who I would have wanted for president. never the less I am completely against this show concept 1) I hate remakes 2)I hate race changing remakes to me it’s lazy, it’s like they are saying that the only way a black actor can have a successful show is to remake a show with a white lead and make them black it’s lazy and in my opinion a little racist. Octavia Spencer is a good enough actress to have her own original show doesn’t she deserve it?

      Comment by Dennis – November 11, 2013 07:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree for the most part with what you say. IMO the Ironside redo would have done better if it was about a handicapped cop and they called it Wheels of Justice. Trading on an established title is having the reverse effect from their intended one. It gets people’s backs up and they rebel.

        Comment by Stormy – November 11, 2013 08:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Wheels of Justice is absolutely a better title than Ironside, although still not that great of a title overall. But yes, it’s better to not say that it’s a remake and just make a new show with a similar concept, because viewers are not responding well to the idea of remakes.

          Comment by the girl – November 11, 2013 09:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I totally agree with this. Taking the idea of a successful show happens all the time but advertising them as remakes is a big mistake. Ironside could have ben good with a different title. But as a remake a big no no. A shame a good actor has to lose out.

          Comment by JoyAnne – November 11, 2013 11:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Um… I imagine she would’ve said the same exact thing regardless of the lead actress’s race.

      Comment by DL – November 11, 2013 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She said nothing to indicate racism. Just a black moron making everything about race.. Seems sassy is the true racist .. So very sad people like you exist . but keep racism alive!! Your family must be proud of you

      Comment by rachel – November 11, 2013 09:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • …Aaaand you assume that the person who made that comment is black? Now THAT is a textbook example of racism. Thank you for reminding us of the dictionary definition of the world, you bigot.

        Comment by Zoe – November 11, 2013 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • *I mean word, not world. Whoops.

          Comment by Zoe – November 11, 2013 10:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Zoe’s right it could be a liberal democrat

          Comment by Dennis – November 11, 2013 10:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Wah Wah Wah. Umad Zoe? Or should I say sassy since you’re one in the same.

          Comment by Kristin – March 25, 2014 03:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Let me quess, you’re black?

      Comment by CBWBDK1 – November 11, 2013 10:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Okay seriously why the heck does the commenter’s race matter? People of /any/ race can falsely say that something is racist.

        Comment by Zoe – November 11, 2013 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Thank you for speaking sense

          Comment by Anon – November 11, 2013 10:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Clearly she is a racist herself and hates white people. Let me guess, you’re black too?

          Comment by CBWBDK1 – November 11, 2013 01:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • …Since when are compliments considered racism?!

      Comment by Zoe – November 11, 2013 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How is she racist? She never once brought up race, and was not criticising the actress. She was criticising the network, which I assure you, is mostly old white dudes. Get a grip. I definitely know there is a lot of racism out there, some not so obvious, but this is not one of those cases.

      Comment by ravenclawwit (@ravenclawwit) – November 11, 2013 01:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I disagree with sassy1234. Why can’t it have it’s own new title? If this has more comedy, get a title that will incorporate the comedy angle. Just like the new program Ironside, I enjoyed the program but I did not agree with the title of the program and it has been cancelled. RStampinMary

      Comment by Mary Dunn – November 11, 2013 03:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Are you on drugs? That wasn’t racist in any fashion. You’re ignorant and people are tired of watching idiots like you word-vomit all of themselves.

      Comment by Petunia pickles – March 25, 2014 03:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 100% right Mrs. Lansbury!
    just call it something else and avoid using a well known brand to get more audience for a product you think couldn’t stand on its own feet.

    Comment by Polly – November 11, 2013 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Listen? That doesn’t sound like NBC at all.

      Comment by Juan – November 11, 2013 07:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • you have a point xD

        Comment by Polly – November 11, 2013 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well said Angela Lansbury!

    Shows her disapproval of the reboot with grace & politeness.

    What a lady.

    Ironside failed miserably, this will too – everything about the plot sounds terrible.

    Comment by Brian (@TheFifthDoctor) – November 11, 2013 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with AL. She will always be Murder She Wrote. I keep watching reboots and they suck. Not sure I will participate in anymore.

    Comment by Alice – November 11, 2013 07:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “NBC’s new take on Murder, which is only at the pilot stage, stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who, after self-publishing her first mystery novel, sets out to help solve real-life crimes.”

    Is that the basis of the original series, more or less? Because it sounds like a female Castle

    Comment by Jerry – November 11, 2013 07:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s a little like the original premise, if you squint. Jessica Fletcher was a well established mystery writer who happened to keep running across murders that she felt compelled to solve. She lived in small town Cabot Cove which had so many murders it was surprising it had people left. Whenever Jessica went anywhere to accept an award, on vacation to visit relatives she always came across a murder usually involving friends or relatives so she had to solve it. It went on for years and led to the rather affectionate fan theory that Jessica Fletcher was actually a serial killer who pinned her murders on others. That never played out on the show, of course. On the show she was just a nice widow who kept running into murder cases that she had to solve.

      Comment by Percysowner – November 11, 2013 07:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, in the beginning of the series, Jessica Fletcher had only written one book (for fun) which her nephew Grady took to a publisher in NY.

        Comment by WayneInNYC – November 11, 2013 08:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I have no idea about the hospital administrator part, but yes, the original Murder, She Wrote is about a woman who is a mystery writer who ends up solving cases for/with the local P.D. (No offence, but how have you made it your whole life without ever having seen an episode?)

      Comment by Katie – November 11, 2013 07:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • A hospital administrator doing even a merely adequate job wouldn’t have time to sleuth or much of anything else. It’s a very exacting and demanding position that’s far more likely to require extra hours rather than permitting breaks for unrelated time-consuming adventures.

      I’m with Angela! She put her stamp on the role of Jessica Fletcher to such an extent that I think any remake is doomed to failure, no matter who stars in it. But failure isn’t exactly a foreign concept to NBC.

      Comment by Larc – November 11, 2013 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Castle is actually a male Murder She Wrote.

      Comment by Josh – November 11, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • And one of their first best moves was, of course, NOT titling it “Murder He Wrote”. evan had they been able to.

        Hmmm, I wonder if Angela plays poker?

        Comment by John 1138 – November 11, 2013 10:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Thank you! I am surprise the Castle fans have not started to flame you to hell. They did it to me the last time I posted a similar comment on a previous article about the remake of Murder She Wrote.

        Comment by Butters – November 11, 2013 01:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Holly-weird is getting a little gungho on doing remakes these days. There are many, many projects that shouldn’t be remade. It’s a little annoying. I think some things shouldn’t be remade (if at all) if the end date of a series or movie being released isn’t at least 30 years old. Many people remember the orginals very clearly. I really don’t get the hype over doing remakes.

    Comment by LaTasha Beal – November 11, 2013 07:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • she’s right! Why didn’t they changed the title? They changed everything else…

    Comment by MyTinyObsessions – November 11, 2013 07:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The problem with reboots is that the producers totally destroy what made the original a hit. Ironside failed because they changed it too much so that those of us that loved the original couldn’t get into the new version. And young people these days don’t remember the original. You want to do a new show based on an older one that’s fine, but don’t call it the same thing – put your own brand on it. Better yet, come up with an original idea.

    Comment by Diane McLaughlin – November 11, 2013 07:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Except that then you have a show like Battlestar Galactica that was vastly improved with a reboot. Murder She Wrote is not classic tv, it’s become a hokey show that’s used to denote the advanced age of its viewing audience which was always older people. Most of the people who watched the original run are gone, there’s no reason not to update it and bring it into the 21st century.

      Comment by Benita – November 11, 2013 11:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • ” it’s become a hokey show that’s used to denote the advanced age of its viewing audience which was always older people. Most of the people who watched the original run are gone”

        Excuse me? I’ve watched Murder She Wrote starting when I was 14–considering I’m 33 now, you really didn’t pay attention in math or you are just a moron who is blowing smoke out of your @ss. I’m going with the second one. Murder She Wrote has many fans of various ages, your “comments” are only highlighting your own arrogance and ignorance–someday when you grow up, you may figure out why this is such a bad idea–here’s a clue, watch the remake of Ironsides–oh wait, it got cancelled after four episodes…… Guess it was a major fail bringing THAT into the 21st century. I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it.

        Comment by QDM – November 11, 2013 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I was 24 when Murder She Wrote premiered. I’m still here. It wasn’t just old folks watching the show. If that had been the case, it wouldn’t have lasted because the networks don’t keep shows on that don’t hit money-making demographics. As for Battlestar Gallactica – that was one show that made it – the exception to the rule.

        Comment by Diane McLaughlin – November 11, 2013 04:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m still shaking my head over the posting above which accused Lansbury of being racist and bitter. Yikes.

    Lansbury is sbsolutely right about why the title shouldn’t be used. It’s obviously not a direct remake.

    Comment by EJ – November 11, 2013 07:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with AL. I’m looking forward to Octavia Spencer headlining a tv show, but just change the title. Don’t do another ‘reinvention’ of an old show. Ms. Spencer can carry this on her own merits.

    Comment by Jess – November 11, 2013 08:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed the title has way more baggage than any upside.

      Comment by John 1138 – November 11, 2013 10:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think Octavia is a great actress, why don’t they try a drama will a new concept? She can carry any kind of show.

      I do not favor the idea of the reboot, just because it’s too soon. And also, if this makes it to schedule, wasn’t the original show skewing old in the demo? Are they repeating Harry’s Law?

      Comment by The Rookie – November 11, 2013 10:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Murder, She Tweeted

    Murder, She Liked & Shared.

    Murder, She Blogged

    Castle…oops, wrong show.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – November 11, 2013 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I grew up watching Murder She Wrote with my mom, who continues to watch it in repeats. And were both excited for the reboot. Octavia is a fantastic choice for the new Jessica. And I think keeping the title is a good thing. Even with that horrible Buffy reboot idea, they had to keep the title. Renaming it just welcomes copycat criticism

    Comment by Liz – November 11, 2013 08:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Murder, She Self-Published. Murder, She Indie Wrote.

    Honestly this sounds like a mash of Diagnosis Murder (set in a hospital about a doctor detective) and Murder, She Wrote. it’s not a bad idea for a reboot but then it just follows about all the not-a-detective-detective-shows that were popular in the 80s and 90s and there were a ton of them! I’ve always been surprised they didn’t reboot Simon & Simon, Probe (which was way before it’s time with the schizophrenic, genius detective & all that science), or some form of Magnum P.I.

    Comment by GildedRose – November 11, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Lol at this post. They could make her a Doctor instead of a Hospital Administrator and call it “Murder She Diagnosed”

      Comment by mrsgr1972 – November 12, 2013 02:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This has been traditionally a show aimed at older people, I thought it was all about targeting younger demographic? I totally understand her point of view, she really owned the part and if it had been anyone, of any race, she would have made the same comment. Stop being so sensitive everyone. It would be like remaking Casablanca. And no nasty comments please, I know it’s not the same caliber but the same concept.

    Comment by xoxoprgossipgirl – November 11, 2013 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “Casablanca” was re-made with David Soul in the part of Rick.

      It was terrible.

      Comment by SAM – November 11, 2013 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I totally agree with Angela Lansbury. I’m also sick to death of remakes. NBC would do much better to come up with a new title and present it as a new show. Octavia Spencer is a terrific actress and would be a wonderful lead for a show. Why drag her down with the baggage that comes with a former show and expectations?

    Comment by Bobbi – November 11, 2013 09:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree about the series name. “Murder, She Wrote” may not exactly be classic television but that title carries so many expectations, good and bad. Why not a new title with no associated baggage?

      Comment by Mo – November 11, 2013 12:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We liked Murder She Wrote because it was in a small town. We never watch hospital shows. The idea of a new writer is charming. I still don’t like hospital based series. There is a built-in emergency dramatic mood with hospitals, so I get it. I just find hospital series boring.

    Comment by prish – November 11, 2013 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, I forgot. We did like Diagnose Murder. The doctor’s son was a police detective, so it wasn’t really a hospital series.

      Comment by prish – November 11, 2013 09:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with Angela Lansbury. It would be very nice if they could somehow make a change to the name of the show. There are so many other names they could use to name the show. Don’t be a copycatter.

    Comment by Anonymous – November 11, 2013 09:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Diagnosis Murder, She Wrote?
    Anyone?
    Anyone?

    I’ll get my coat.

    Comment by Brian (@TheFifthDoctor) – November 11, 2013 09:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • EASY WAY TO FIX IS TO MAKE THIS A SEQUEL SERIES NOT A REBOOT. Maybe Octavia’s character can be inspired to write her book because she is a fan of Jessica Fletcher’s books and adventures. You don’t even need Angela in the pilot or series. Maybe a guess appearance somewhere down the road.

    Comment by KENL – November 11, 2013 09:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 100% agree! Why does ever success have to be copied, transformed, repeated and done to death?

    Comment by Trista – November 11, 2013 09:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My only question is: will the remake finally reveal what we all knew in the original…that Jessica was a serial killer, using her writing skills and creativity to frame someone else each time?

    Comment by Daryl – November 11, 2013 10:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I totally agree with Ms. Lansbury. It’s not that the premise is a bad idea; it’s a tried-and-true formula for a show. (“Mrs. Columbo,” “The Snoop Sisters,” “Castle”)…but why do they insist on calling it “Murder, She Wrote?”

    Since the character in the new show works in a hospital, AND solves mysteries, maybe NBC could really cash in by calling it “Diagnosis: Murder, She Wrote.”

    Comment by Bill Prickett – November 11, 2013 10:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with Ms. Lansbury and I enjoyed her candid comments about a remake. She was classy and tactful, but still got her point across. There is a brain drain at NBC and they never seem to learn from their past mistakes. Knight Rider, The Bionic Woman, Ironside.

    Comment by MP – November 11, 2013 10:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Angela Lansbury is right. Will NBC listen? Of course not! They seem committed to funding the lamest shows on television. This one sounds like a guaranteed loser, so it would follow that NBC execs are probably orgasmic about it.

    Comment by Tom – November 11, 2013 10:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ever since Harry’s Law, nbc has been trying to skew younger. A Murder, She Wrote remake should do the trick!

    Comment by et al – November 11, 2013 10:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • So true, snag all that big money in Medicare part A infomercials.

      Comment by John 1138 – November 11, 2013 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t see Angela’s comments as being about race at all. Octavia Spencer just happens to be African-American, but what Angela said would apply no matter what Ms. Spencer’s ethnicity is. Unless the new show has some tie to Murder She Wrote, like Spencer playing a protege of Jessica Fletcher, for example, there’s no reason to use the same title. NBC has now apparently run out of titles, and there is no creative element from the new series on which an original title could be based? Seems like this should be a discussion about laziness on the part of the network and/or writing staff instead of a discussion about the race of Octavia Spencer.

    Comment by Andrea – November 11, 2013 11:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Unless the hospital is located in Cabot Cove, and the new character was a student inspired by her teacher, Jessica Fletcher, then I see no point in calling Octavia Spencer’s new show “Murder, She Wrote.” What, the showrunners totally lack the imagination to create their own name? I’d love to watch Octavia Spencer solve murders, but this attempt to steal Angela Lansbury’s thunder turns me off to the show.

    Comment by arial2 – November 11, 2013 05:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Reboots usually fail because of total changes to the concept upon which the original was based. In addition to Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who has survived very, very successfully with its reboot because except for a few minor changes the BBC has kept its original concept intact. As a matter of fact, Doctor Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary on November 23, 2013. It seems very much like a Murder, She Wrote reboot would fail if they change the lead to anything other than simply a writer. What would have happened if the BBC changed The Doctor to anything other than a Timelord who travels time and space in machine disguised as a 1950s police box? It would not BE Doctor Who if they made him anything else!

    Comment by Nielsen Pete – November 11, 2013 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree it sounds like a totally different show why not name it something else. They just think using that title will make a hit. Don’t think so.

    Comment by linda christensen – November 11, 2013 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree 100% with her. Name it something else. Why do they have to try and copy every old hit show again. Before we know it Friends will be rehashed. Come up with some fresh ideas already.

    Comment by greysfan – November 11, 2013 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • People never surprise me. It’s a TV show. As long as the show has good solid writers then Octavia Spencer will be a great Jessica Fletcher. Let’s not get too worked up over Angela Lansbury’s comments. I’m sure anyone would feel some type of way when someone is stepping in their shoes especially when it is very near and dear to their heart. It’s okay people. If Angela Lansbury makes and appearance on the show will that make you all feel better? My grandmother loved murder she wrote and is very excited about the show coming back on and even more excited to see a fresh face. Would you all be happy if Angela Lansbury came back as Jessica Fletcher? Come on!

    Comment by Ms. Haddock – December 7, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please DO NOT REMAKE MURDER SHE WROTE. If they do..Please name it something else.

    Comment by Talina H – December 9, 2013 10:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There will only ever be ONE Murder, She Wrote and one Jessica Cletcher. This new show sounds like a D list travesty. Shame on NBC!!!

    Comment by Petunia pickles – March 25, 2014 03:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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