Lee Zlotoff Visits Cast & Crew On Set Of MacGyver

Lee-Zlotoff-with-cast-of-MacGyver

Lee Zlotoff spent last week visiting the cast and crew on the set of CBS’s MacGyver reboot of which he is an executive producer. He said it was good visit and “a chance for me to thank them for all their hard work on the show.”

Lee acknowledged that many fans of the original show were having difficulty adjusting to the new show, but reiterated that this was not a reflection of the cast or crew who are all working very hard and skillfully to bring this new show to life each week for us.

The MacGyver reboot premiered in September of last year where it achieved top ratings for the night and had the MacGyver hashtag  trending on twitter, a feat it has repeated several times since, while continuing to constantly score a spot on the Friday night ratings podium. Despite the top ratings there’s still no word from CBS on the chances of a second season as the show approaches the end of it’s first season.

 

 

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MACGYVER: ON TURNING 30!!

1985-macep-001-07aFor those of you who may not have in marked in your calendars, it is exactly 30 years ago this week that the first episode of MacGyver appeared on our TV sets. Not that I’ve been counting the days exactly but, there it is. Who even knew back then that Mac would still be around now, much less turn into a global meme and a part of our everyday vocabulary? (Again, in case you didn’t know, even the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary has just be-knighted ‘MacGyver’ as a bona fide verb. Probably because
we’ve all been using it as one for several decades. Still, nice that they made it official, no?)

And though I obviously encountered Mac myself sometime before he—and the inimitable Richard Dean Anderson—first took their bow on the stage of popular culture, perhaps it’s worth a few moments to consider this milestone for not only how and why we got to this point but where Mac might go from here.

As to how we got here, the answer is, I think, both simple and yet profound. Clearly,
something about this character struck a chord with, well, pretty much everybody. I mean,
the series has run continuously around the world for the past three decades—and still
does! I’m no whiz at math but that’s got to translate into billions of viewers, spanning
more than at least a generation, doesn’t it?

So was it that Mac didn’t use a gun? Or had the ingenuity and resourcefulness—and just
plain smarts—to solve the problem with whatever was at hand? Or that he somehow
managed to do all that while maintaining a sense of humor and humility? I guess, for the
simple answer, I’d say ‘all of the above’. And, for those of you who are interested in the
more profound version, I will re-post the MacGyver Global piece that I offered some
time back. Because, after giving it some serious consideration, I was as amazed and
surprised by Mac’s indelible impact as anyone.

But whatever the reason Mac’s still with us—and seemingly growing bigger by the
year—now we all get to ask the question, ‘what does it mean for a character like
MacGyver to turn 30?’

mac_webWell, at 30, most of us still have a good bit of life ahead of us. And, with all the new
Mac projects in the pipeline and on the drawing board—all of which will be revealed in
due course—I’d say the same of Mac. We’ve slowly but steadily been bringing
MacGyver out of hibernation and back to his rightful place on the world stage. First with
the new MacGyverGlobal.com website, followed by the comic book series, then the
graphic novel, then the mobile/app game, The MacGyver Method, and most recently with
The Next MacGyver global script competition. But trust me, those were just the
appetizers. There’s even more and better still to come.

Still, at 30, though we may be young and vibrant, we’re not exactly a kid anymore either.
Turning 30 is a moment to take stock, look around at the world–and at oneself—and ask
some real questions, like ‘what am I really about?’, ‘and what am I meant to be doing
with myself?’, ‘and is there something larger than me, like a bigger picture, that I should
be seeing?’.

And those questions can apply to Mac as well: what is MacGyver really about? What should he be doing now?, especially with all the changes in technology that have appeared in the last three decades, and ‘Is Mac now meant to be a part of something even larger than just himself?

So, as Mac’s creator, I’ve asked those questions. And here’s what I came up with.

As to what Mac’s really about, first and foremost Mac was, is and will always be about a good story. There are few better ways to engage the hearts and minds of the world than through entertainment. And, let’s face it, even when there were seemingly lives at stake, watching Mac has always been just great fun. And, if I have anything to say about it, that’s how it will continue to be. Though there are some serious challenges out there these days, the minute we take ourselves too seriously, I fear we become more a part of the problem than the solution. I don’t know, maybe it’s that humor and humility thing again.

mac-the-bomb

But having fun doesn’t mean you can’t still be about something meaningful or important, does it? Look at all the lives that have been affected—if not actually saved—by emulating Mac and his approach to a problem: by stopping to fully consider what tools or resources you really have, and how to transform that into what you really need to deal with a problem. I’ve lost count of all the true stories that have come my way about someone invoking Mac to get themselves through a tough spot. And isn’t that something we’re all doing more and more to cope with the fluctuations in our economies, or our food, water, energy resources and so on?

And while I marvel at the stunning leaps and pirouettes of changing tech as much as we all do, it’s good to remember that all this new technology is awesome until, you know, it isn’t. When there’s a massive blackout, or the cell system gets overloaded by a storm or some other act of nature, does that simply render us all suddenly helpless? Would Mac be helpless then? I think not. So why should we?

Hence, even with all the advances in technology, having the wits and whereabouts to deal with an unexpected turn of events or a crisis seems just as relevant—if not more so—than it did 30 years ago. And I’ll just bet that it wouldn’t take you more than a few seconds to recall the last time you—or someone you know—had to MacGyver something. And called it just that.

So, if Mac’s meant to be doing anything now, reminding us that there’s probably a better way to tackle all the little challenges of everyday life is cause enough to keep him—and his approach—handy. Because our lives are rarely as predictable as we’d like and, well, stuff happens!

1985-macpro-window-01aFinally then there’s the question if Mac is now in some way part of something even larger than himself? Well, like it or not, I think we’re now all part of something larger than ourselves. The fact is that we’ve had a global economy for at least the last 50 years, and with the introduction and integration of the internet, we are now all not only more wired together but more dependent on one another than anytime in human history. Add to that there are right now more people living on the planet than have ever lived—and died—in all of that same history, and with the increasing impact of climate change, there’s no escaping the reality that we are now a true global civilization.

This is it folks, good or bad, the bottom line is we are all in this together. And we’re all going to have to find a way to work together if this civilization is to survive through the new century. There is no longer any country, including America, that can claim to have all the resources it needs and that can hope to sustain its citizens without trading goods, information and new ways to address the issues we all face.

And, from where I sit, we need MacGyver—and his approach—more than ever. Because if we’re going to provide a decent life for our children, and their children and so on, we’ll all need to human up and get our individual and collective MacGyver on. Big time. We’re all going to need to learn how to put down our guns, turn what we have into what we need, and keep a sense of humor and humility if we hope to continue living on this precious little planet of ours. And if any character can help us get there, it’s not going to be Spiderman, or Batman, or the Avengers—much fun as they all are— but, in my humble opinion, it’s going to be MacGyver. Not because I created him, but because all of you have somehow recognized the truth and made Mac what he is, and not only because you like him, but because you all know we need him!

And I can’t think of a better 30th birthday present for a character than that. So thanks for not only taking Mac to your hearts, but for having the wisdom to see we should keep him around for at least the next 30 years…if not longer.

Respectfully—and gratefully—yours,

Lee D. Zlotoff

THE NEXT MACGYVER Competition Awards Announced.

After 6 months, the search for ‘The Next MacGyver’ will complete with the announcement of the 5 winners on Tuesday, July 28th at the Paley Media Center in Los Angeles where they will each be immediately teamed up with a successful Hollywood producer to mentor and help them develop their pilot screenplays.

See the 12 finalists.

Watch the event live streaming here.

Worldwide Crowdsourcing Seeks Ideas For ‘The Next MacGyver’

“The Next MacGyver” project enlists top Hollywood producers to help inspire women to pursue engineering.

Washington, DC, February 19, 2015 – In celebration of National Engineers Week, the
U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the University of Southern
California’s Viterbi School of Engineering (USC Viterbi), in collaboration with The
MacGyver Foundation and Lee Zlotoff (creator of the TV series MacGyver) today
announced the launch of a worldwide crowdsourcing competition called “The Next
MacGyver.” The contest was launched at a press event in Washington, DC, hosted by
TODAY Show digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong.

Sponsored by the United Engineering Foundation, the project is seeking ideas for a
scripted television show featuring a female engineer character in a leading role. The goal
of the competition is to create a historic TV series that inspires young people, especially
women, to consider pursuing engineering.  Five winners will each receive $5,000 and
have the rare opportunity to be paired with top Hollywood producers, who will mentor
them to develop the female character and an engaging pilot script. Ultimately, the
finalists will work to develop viable concept packages for pitching to a network or
distributor.

“Next MacGyver” competition mentors include:

  • Clayton Krueger, senior vice president of television, Scott Free Productions (3001: The Final Odyssey)
  • Lori McCreary, CEO and founder, Revelations Entertainment; president, Producer’s Guild of America (Madam Secretary, Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman)
  • Roberto Orci, writer/producer (Star Trek, Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, Hawaii Five-O, Fringe)
  • Anthony Zuiker, creator and executive producer, CSI franchise (including the soon-to-be launched CSI:Cyber)
  • (Final mentor to be announced later)

“We could not be more pleased to have some of Hollywood’s top talent donating their
time to develop compelling women engineer characters and bringing them to life on the
screen,” said NAE President C.D. Mote, Jr. “This contest provides a rare opportunity to
tell the story of engineering and engineers that people practically never see.”

The hugely successful MacGyver series, launched exactly 30 years ago in 1985, followed
the adventures of fictional government agent Angus MacGyver who resourcefully used
his engineering skills to solve problems in each episode. “I literally could not tell you
how many times people have come up to me and said ‘I became and engineer or I went
into the sciences because of MacGyver,’” said Zlotoff.

The Next MacGyver competition is not trying to re-create that show but, using the power
of crowdsourcing, develop original TV series with female role models who will help
young people – particularly young women – see themselves as engineers.

“Having been one of only a few women at UCLA studying computer science,” said
Revelations Entertainment CEO and contest mentor Lori McCreary, “I am thrilled to
have the opportunity to help inspire a new generation of women forging a path in
engineering and technology.”

A recent report by the National Student Clearinghouse showed a decrease in the number
of U.S. women pursuing engineering bachelor degrees between 2004-2014, to just 19%.
Next week, Change the Equation will present new data showing that, despite numerous
efforts to attract them, women’s percentage in the engineering workforce has remained
stagnant – at just about 24% – over the past thirteen years.

At a town hall meeting last year, President Obama remarked, “When you see an engineer
or a tech person on a TV show or movies, something like 90% of them are male.  So if
you never see you in that position, it’s hard to imagine, well, that’s something I should be
doing.”

“The new face of engineering is not that of Dilbert in the cartoons,” adds USC Viterbi
dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “It is the face of bright women and men, spanning societal,
racial and ethnic divides. Diversity is not a political slogan, it is an essential ingredient
for innovation.”

There is strong evidence indicating that cultural cues have impact, such as the jump in
forensic science enrollments after CSI: Crime Scene Investigation became a hit show.
“What CSI did for science is what engineering can do for humankind,” said Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise who will serve as a mentor on the project. “Through
ingenuity and innovation, the medium of TV will help galvanize youth to go into the field of engineering.”

“The Next MacGyver” competition opens today and the deadline for entry is April 17,
2015. Initial idea submissions will be roughly one page of content to include a proposed
title and genre, short description of the show, breakdown of lead characters, and ideas for
episodes beyond the pilot. A panel of judges from engineering, entertainment, and
academia will select 12 contestants who further develop their ideas and pitch them to
another panel of judges at a live event this summer. The five finalists will be selected at
that time and pilots scripts will be completed by the end of this year.

More details about the contest and rules for entering can be found at
www.thenextmacgyver.com.

The National Academy of Engineering. The mission of the National Academy of
Engineering (NAE) is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant
engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent
engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving
engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies (along with the
National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research
Council), an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide
objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science and technology.
http://www.nae.edu

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Engineering Studies began at the University
of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering
received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi
algorithm now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications.
Consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the world, the school enrolls
more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 180 tenured and tenure-
track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.
http://viterbi.usc.edu

The MacGyver Foundation. The MacGyver name is synonymous with innovation,
ingenuity and the ability to solve complex problems using only the resources at
hand, particularly in the face of a crisis.  The MacGyver Foundation aims to encourage
and support individuals and organizations throughout the world that utilize self-reliance,
non-violence and sustainability to improve people’s lives.
https://macgyverglobal.com/foundation/

Lee Zlotoff is an award-winning writer, producer and director of film and television.
Among his more than one hundred hours of television credits, he was the creator of the
hit series “MacGyver” as well as the writer/director of the indie hit film “Spitfire Grill”
which won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance film festival.   Mr. Zlotoff,
who has also been a regular contributor to Make magazine, looks to further STEM
education through MacGyver-based curricula and initiatives to help create the next
generation of problem-solvers.

Lee David Zlotoff Teams Up With CBS

CBS Consumer Products will represent the merchandising rights for the iconic TV series “MacGyver” on behalf of series creator Lee David Zlotoff.

The series ran on ABC for seven seasons, spanning 137 episodes while introducing new terms into the American lexicon and changing the way everyone looked at the usefulness of duct tape.

Currently streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and CBS.com, the action-adventure series revolved around the exploits of a secret agent armed with almost infinite scientific resourcefulness. 2015 will mark the 30th anniversary of series, which debuted in 1985.

“MacGyver was such a unique series that it quickly became an international phenomenon,” says Liz Kalodner, executive vice president and general manager, CBS Consumer Products. “The character’s innovative escapes from any situation helped set it apart from other television programs, and we’ll look to work with licensees known for that same type of creativity.”

Release Date Set for MacGyver Game

Birmingham, UK – 7th May 2014 – Mobile game publisher, Fairplay Media, is pleased to announce MacGyver: Deadly Descent is due for release on 21st May 2014.

mac-decentMacGyver is back! In a new, thrilling challenge game, MacGyver is tapped as the last hope when a computer virus rips through the top secret D.A.W.N Laboratories, trapping its scientists underground. Arriving on the scene, Mac realizes it’s a race against time before the laboratory runs out of air and so must make a potentially deadly descent into the complex. Mac works his way through the labyrinth of complex puzzles but, little does he know, that an even deadlier enemy awaits him in the darkness.

Developed with input from the creator of MacGyver, Lee David Zlotoff, Deadly Descent sees Mac return to his roots as a young problem solver in a modern environment “We wanted to create something that acknowledges the past and ‘stirs’ those memories and at the same time bring Mac and the experience into the present.”

Fairplay Media Production Director, Mark Mainey, enthuses “It’s exciting working with Lee [Zlotoff] and such a well known character in MacGyver. The possibilities are endless! Deadly Descent really sets the scene with Mac being called in by Jack as the last hope in a crisis and putting the player in a position to save the day.” Mainey continues “We wanted to open up the appeal of Deadly Descent but make sure that its 100% authentic MacGyver. It’s a tough game too; you’re going to have to really think about some of the puzzles!”

MacGyver: Deadly Descent will be released on all iOS and Android formats (including Amazon Kindle) around the globe on 21st of May as a premium title with a portion of proceeds going to support The MacGyver Foundation.

MacGyver game screen shot 1MacGyver game screen shot 2MacGyver game screen shot 3
MacGyver game screen shot 4MacGyver game screen shot 5MacGyver game screen shot 6

 

About Fairplay Media
Fairplay Media is a global publisher of mobile games and apps. Formed in 2007 by Geoff Brown and Simon Phillips, Fairplay’s roots can be traced back to the very beginnings of video game history when Mr Brown founded U.S. Gold in 1984. Bringing 30 years of game publishing, development, licensing, marketing and distribution experience together, Fairplay Media develops and publishes original IP as well as acquiring 3rd party licenses and products.

http://www.fairplay-media.com
facebook.com/fairplaymedialtd
@fairplaymedia

Fairplay Do ‘A MacGyver’!

mac_webBirmingham, UK – 24th March 2014 – Mobile game publisher, Fairplay Media, has put all the pieces together to bring the classic American action-adventure series, MacGyver, to the mobile games arena!

MacGyver was a hit television series in the 80’s and 90’s about the adventures of a laid-back but extremely resourceful secret agent whose main asset was his practical application of scientific knowledge and ingenious use of whatever common items were at hand to confront any crisis.

Created by Lee Zlotoff, the original show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the United States and by 1994 was released in over 70 different worldwide markets. Due to popular demand, two TV-movies were released in 1994. MacGyver is still showing around the globe to this day.

Fairplay’s CEO, Simon Phillips enthused “Who doesn’t know MacGyver? To most people MacGyver is a household name that conjures up so many fond memories of puzzle solving, ingenuity and doing ‘a MacGyver’. We’ve been talking to Lee for some time and have constantly discussed different ways of bringing Mac to the mobile games market and we were delighted to be able find a way to do just that!”

“We’re excited to be able to bring MacGyver up to date and into the mobile games market. Games are the perfect way for Mac to start new adventures with both the existing fans and an entirely new global audience as well.  I’m looking forward to working with the team at Fairplay and seeing Mac back in action” said Zlotoff. “What’s more, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the game will go to support The MacGyver Foundation.”

The first MacGyver title is already deep in development and due to be announced in the coming weeks.

About Fairplay Media
Fairplay Media is a global publisher of mobile games and apps. Formed in 2007 by Geoff Brown and Simon Phillips, Fairplay’s roots can be traced back to the very beginnings of video game history when Mr Brown founded U.S. Gold in 1984. Bringing 30 years of game publishing, development, licensing, marketing and distribution experience together, Fairplay Media develops and publishes original IP as well as acquiring 3rd party licenses and products.

www.fairplay-media.com
facebook.com/fairplaymedialtd
@fairplaymedia