By coincidence, on the same day family members announced the death of “Route 66” television series co-star Martin Milner, a story surfaced that reported the producer of the “From Dusk Till Dawn” television series will help create a reboot of “Route 66.”
Assignment X was interviewing “From Dusk Till Dawn” executive producer Juan Carlos Coto about the El Rey Network show when he was asked about other projects. Coto said:
“I am adapting a reboot of ROUTE 66 and I also am writing a film for HBO about the Mexican civil rights movement.”
Coto went on to elaborate about the latter film, “A Class Apart,” but didn’t provide details about “Route 66.”
In December, it was reported that Slingshot Global Media was developing a television reboot of “Route 66,” which originally aired from 1960 to 1964 on CBS and helped cement the real Route 66 in the popular culture. Entertainment Weekly and Deadline Hollywood reported at the time:
The remake will build on the original concept, chronicling the journey of two young adventurers traveling through the Heartland of America in their cool sports car, encountering people from all walks of life and exploring the social problems and changing mores of the time. The premise lands itself to product placement for a sports car manufacturer — the original series featured the main characters, played by starred Martin Milner and George Maharis, driving the Chevy Corvette and helped establish the car as an American classic.
“The original series was hugely popular not only in the U.S., but also internationally, and we thought this could be a great concept to reformulate for the modern era,” said Slingshot Global Media CEO David Ellender. “The premise is the same, but the United States is a different landscape than it was 50 years ago and we can’t wait to explore the multitude of diverse social issues confronting the nation today.”
According to media reports at the time, Kirk Hallam is the series’ executive producer. Longtime readers of Route 66 News probably remember Hallam when his Roxbury Entertainment company bought the rights to the original “Route 66” television show in 2007. That led to some shoddily executed re-releases of the show on DVD. Hallam eventually let Shout! Factory re-release “Route 66” in a better-executed DVD box set.
Hallam also announced the production of a full-length “Route 66” film that would have been shot on the real Route 66. He had a finished script, but the film never became reality — probably because the Great Recession began about that time.
The first “Route 66” television revival, starring Dan Cortese and James Wilder, ran on NBC for just four episodes in 1993.
(Publicity image of George Maharis and Martin Milner in the original “Route 66” television series)