By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Herman Wedemeyer greets James MacArthur at
last year's "Five-0" reunion here.

Danno for governor?

Pilot for ‘Five-0’ revival may
court MacArthur for Denning’s old role

By Tim Ryan

"Danno" may be getting a big promotion. 

After toiling for years as Detective Danny "Danno" Williams, Steve McGarrett's chief assistant on "Hawaii Five-0," actor James MacArthur is headed for the governor's office - at least in the CBS pilot for a possible revival of the series.

MacArthur says he's "definitely interested" in a role on the show but has not seen a script.

"The optimum for me would be if they can figure out something where I could come in just once in a while because I don't want to be a 6 a.m.-to-6 p.m. grinder again," he said in a telephone interview this week from his home in Palm Desert, Calif.

Richard Denning, a parttime Maui resident, played Hawaii's governor on the series that ran from 1968 to 1980, but is too ill to return.

CBS has ordered the pilot, which will be shot in Hawaii in mid-March. It will air during the May ratings television sweeps. The pilot and the possible series will be produced by Stephen J. Cannell, who also is writing the pilot.

But sources say the first draft of the pilot has a major glitch: a cameo role for Jack Lord who starred as McGarrett. And that's "impossible," the actor's friends and former associates say, because he is too ill to perform.

So Cannell and company are rewriting the script to exclude Lord's appearance.

MacArthur says he won't make a decision on taking a role until "I have a script in hand.

"When there's something on paper that I can read I'll have something to talk about," MacArthur said. "But I'm all ears."

He also said that the network and producer "would do well to also include 'Five-0' regulars Kam Fong and Zulu.

Plans for the pilot comes amidst a legal dispute between CBS and producer George Litto and Rose Freeman, wife of "Five-0" creator Leonard Freeman. Litto and Freeman last summer announced plans to film a big budget "Hawaii Five-0" movie. But CBS went to court in January to fight for sole rights to the show, saying it and not the Freeman estate owns the show.

Rose Freeman and CBS declined comment on the matter.

However, sources close to the proposed film believe the CBS suit is a ploy to either simply delay or completely postpone the motion picture until the network's television version of the show can be aired.

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