Everything We Know So Far About New Version Starring Kathy Bates

Everything We Know So Far About New Version Starring Kathy Bates

As broadcast networks continue to mine familiar IP for its new offerings, CBS is rolling out an updated version of the 1986-1995 legal drama Matlock. And taking over for the late Andy Griffith in the title role is Academy Award winner Kathy Bates.

The new Matlock, originally set for a 2023 bow, won’t premiere until this fall, but hype is already building. The pilot was reportedly one of the best CBS execs had seen, and recurring star Beau Bridges has been loving watching Bates work her magic. “She’s going to be great in this,” he told Deadline in March. “She’s really funny. It’s hard for me to keep a straight face with her. She’s great.”

Here’s the need-to-know info about the new Matlock.

CBS ordered a pilot for the series in January 2023

CBS gave the green light to the new Matlock project in January 2023 as one of just two new drama pilots in development at the time, a historic low for the network, according to Deadline. That May, CBS ordered Matlock to series for the 2023-2024 season.

This updated version follows Madeline “Matty” Matlock, a “brilliant septuagenarian … who, after achieving success in her younger years, decides to rejoin the workforce at a prestigious law firm where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases and expose corruption from within,” CBS says.

Kathy Bates leads the cast — after almost leaving her showbiz career behind

In an interview with Parade, Bates said that when her agent called her about Matlock, she had been so frustrated by her experience on a recent film project that she was ready to quit acting. “They called me one Friday afternoon. They said, ‘Listen, they’re doing a pilot of Matlock. You have to read the script. You have to let them know by Monday.’ So I hung up, and I was kind of grumpy and gruff [from the bad film experience]. And there I am, sitting, looking at my watch. Why haven’t they sent a script yet?” she recalled with a laugh. “So it’s like, so busted. It’s like, you want to do it. If you’re an actor, it’s your life force. It’s what you were made to do.”

Who’s in the Supporting Cast?

Skye P. Marshall (Good Sam) plays Olympia, “a senior attorney and key rainmaker with a thirst for justice,” to whom Matty is assigned. Jason Ritter (Raising Dion) plays Julian, Olympia’s ex-husband and son of the head of the firm, who “is intrigued by Matty and her clever skills.”

And as Matty “endeavors to establish herself in her new high-stakes world,” she works alongside young associates, including the charismatic Billy, played by David Del Rio (Maggie), and the uber-ambitious Sarah, played by Leah Lewis (The Half of It). Bates, Del Rio, and Lewis are pictured with guest star Nicole de Boer here.

Nicole de Boer, Kathy Bates, David Del Rio, and Leah Lewis in 'Matlock'

Brooke Palmer/CBS

Who’s behind Matlock?

Jennie Snyder Urman, who previously created Emily Owens, M.D. and developed Jane the Virgin, is the screenwriter behind the new Matlock’s pilot episode. And Kat Coiro, executive producer of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and The Spiderwick Chronicles and director of Marry Me, directed that first installment.

The CBS Studios project also boasts Bates, Urman, Joanna Klein, Eric Christian Olsen, and John Will as executive producers.

The Hollywood strikes delayed the series until the 2024-2025 season

In May 2023, CBS slated Matlock for a fall 2023 debut, scheduling it for Sundays at 8/7c, between 60 Minutes and The Equalizer. That November, however, the network delayed Matlock until the 2024-2025 season.

The postponing came after that year’s WGA strike and at the end of the then-ongoing AG-AFTRA strike, which pushed some series to midseason and others to Fall 2024, according to Deadline, which reported that Matlock also needed time to move production from Toronto to Los Angeles. (The site did add, though that Matlock was “one of the best received pilots” at CBS in years.)

Now Matlock is back on the schedule, debuting this fall on Thursday nights at 9/8c between Ghosts and Elsbeth.

Beau Bridges joined the series in a recasting, and Yael Grobglas will also recur

This February, Bridges (Lessons in Chemistry) joined Matlock to play Senior, Julian’s father, taking over a recurring role previously held by Jamey Sheridan. Senior is “the firm’s managing partner who has an indomitable presence that immediately alters the temperature of any room,” per Deadline. “The man’s influence reaches far and wide, and although he loves his son, Julian, he might respect his daughter-in-law, Olympia, more.”

And in April, Jane the Virgin alum Yael Grobglas signed on to recur as the “devastatingly insightful jury consultant” Shae Banfield, a role that reunites the actor with Urman. Known as a human lie detector, Shae is “able to suss out character and sniff out the truth using her mastery of body language, facial expressions, and neurolinguistics,” per Deadline. Those skills “make her a worthy adversary to brilliant attorney Olympia Lawrence and an imminent threat to Madeleine Matlock.”

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