Peter Lenkov on the Prospects of a ‘MacGyver’ and ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Crossover
Key elements to any TV reboot include finding the right way to put a fresh spin on a familiar world and assembling actors who embody the spirit of the original cast. Another common denominator that’s working for CBS’s popular reboots Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver: executive producer Peter M. Lenkov. He’s the first to admit it isn’t easy to reimagine a hit and shares his thoughts on how he’s getting it right.
Was being a TV producer always your plan?
My dream would’ve been to be a rock star, telling stories like Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, but I didn’t have that ability. So I’m telling stories in a different way—I tell them in 43 minutes rather than three minutes.
What did you learn from reimagining Hawaii Five-0 that helped you on MacGyver?
Don’t piss off the original fans. You gotta watch the original show. I’m sort of joking, but make sure you honor the source material and know that show backward and forward. Also, don’t go into it unless you’re a fan of the original, which I was of both. I wouldn’t want to do it unless I really knew and I felt a connection to the source material.
Do you dream about your shows?
Yes! I tell people it’s a shop that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m not really dreaming about scenarios. It’s more about how to get out of situations that are more real life or [things] behind the scenes.
You’re in the middle of a long-running series and at the beginning of another. Does the job get easier or more difficult as a show goes on?
Every year it seems to get harder because, storywise, what have we not done? How [do we] keep the actors engaged and make it feel like they’re not doing something they did a couple of years ago and keep everything fresh?
Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver seem like they exist in the same universe. A crossover would be a no-brainer.
I took a shot out of the MacGyver pilot in a flashback to Jack [George Eads] in Afghanistan. The shot was of the saddle of his gun. It said “Aloha” on the saddle, and the idea was that he knew McGarrett [Alex O’Loughlin] in the military. I still would like to take advantage of that. Somehow we’ll do a cross-over and those two guys knew each other. I’m hoping.
Do you see yourself doing this in 20 years, or is there something else on your bucket list?
I’d like to be an auto mechanic. I’m not joking. I love working with my hands and I love engines, so I always said at one point when I get tired of this, I’d like to practice in an auto shop and learn how to fix cars. I’m slowly getting there.
MacGyver, Fridays, 8/7c, CBS
Hawaii Five-0, Fridays, 9/8c, CBS