What started as a Navy-themed TV drama with an impressive Hollywood pedigree slowly became a show without a ship, without a star — and, eventually, without a chance.
Both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com said the show’s stumbles weren’t limited to finding a carrier; in fact, plans called for filming to commence without a flattop to accommodate the schedule of potential leading man Tim McGraw — country music superstar, “Friday Night Lights” co-star and famous enough already by relation.
McGraw ended up passing, according to reports, so the producers ended up waiting, assembling a cast led by Mykelti Williamson, probably best known for his role as as Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue, as the warship’s command master chief.
With Williamson on board and with members of the team behind the FX hit “Justified” at the helm, the show — pitched as “West Wing” meets “ER” meets “Top Gun,” with a bit of “Upstairs, Downstairs” thrown in for good measure — appeared on track. Instead, its rejection ends a year of bad news for the Navy on TV, outside of the ratings monster that is the “NCIS” franchise:
- The last episode of the canceled ABC drama “Last Resort” aired in January.
- Producers behind the “Act of Valor” franchise, which starred real Navy SEALs on the big screen in 2012, announced a deal for a follow-up series on the National Geographic Channel … starring Air Force pararescuemen.
- The CW network passed on “Company Town,” a Navy-themed drama targeting twentysomethings and set in Norfolk, Va.
One bright spot for 2014 on the small screen: “The Last Ship” — which shares a title with William Brinkley’s 1989 novel of nuclear Armageddon, but won’t mirror his story — will debut on TNT this summer. Watch the trailer here.