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Smokey and the Bandit series in the works with Seth MacFarlane

Universal Content Productions is looking to bring back the "very cool and irreverent" project.

Burt Reynolds

A TV series based on the classic Burt Reynolds’ 1977 southern comedy road movie Smokey and the Bandit is being developed in the US after Universal Content Productions (UCP) gave the project the go-ahead.

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The series will be co-executive-produced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane from a script written by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down) and frequent collaborator Brian Sides.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Arkansas-born, Texas-raised Green said: “Growing up in the south, Smokey and the Bandit was an iconic franchise for me. The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I’m excited to dig into.”

The 1997 movie starred Burt Reynolds as the “Bandit” of the title, a man on the make who is involved in a bootlegging deal to get a truckload of beer to a parched Atlanta, Georgia. The formula of high-speed car chases, comedy and an anti-cop storyline was a huge hit. Produced for $4.3 million (£3.27 million) it went onto earn more than $300 million (£228 million), with only Star Wars a bigger box office success that year.

Smokey and the Bandit is the latest in an ever-expanding line of upcoming shows that MacFarlane and his Fuzzy Door company are producing for UCP.

Fuzzy Door president Erica Huggins said: “When UCP mentioned Smokey and the Bandit we were immediately drawn to it. We knew we had to remain faithful to its original setting in the South, and find an authentic voice. David’s immediate interest and his unique perspective and love for the original made it possible.

“Smokey and the Bandit was a very cool and irreverent film at the time and we hope to achieve that same feeling in the show.”

UCP has been developing a number of shows based on its movie catalogue. Universal Pictures produced the original Smokey and the Bandit, which spawned two sequels and a number of TV movies. Also in development are Battlestar Galactica for streaming network Peacock and Chucky for Syfy.

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