Nearly a year ago, Eddie Murphy told Rolling Stone that he was interested in turning his classic 1984 action comedy Beverly Hills Cop into a TV show. Now Vulture has learned exclusively that the project is not only a reality, but that The Shield creator Shawn Ryan is leading the charge to resurrect Axel Foley. Multiple industry insiders tell us Ryan, Murphy and Sony Pictures Television have partnered on a small screen adaptation of the massively successful film franchise, and that broadcast networks began hearing their pitch on the spin-off this afternoon. And here’s the kicker: In addition to his main role as an exec producer, Murphy has agreed to an on-camera role in the show. Feel free to begin doing the Neutron Dance.
Murphy telegraphed his intent to be a visible presence in the TV version of Cop during his chat with Rolling Stone last October. “I’d do the pilot, show up here and there,” he told the magazine. Murphy was also very specific about the idea he had for reviving Axel. It would be a series “starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit.” Vulture hasn’t heard details of the pitch to networks, so it’s very possible that the concept Ryan and Murphy is bringing to the networks has changed since. Our spies were only sure that the series is designed to be “a buddy cop show,” that it will be an hour-long crime procedural with strong comedic elements (hello, CBS!), and that Murphy will appear in the pilot and possibly a few special episodes throughout the first season.
As for the major players in this version, Murphy and his self-titled production company were producers on the Cop movie franchise, which is one reason he’s on board as an exec producer. Sony has an overall deal with Ryan (who’s getting ready to launch The Last Resort on ABC), and Paramount Pictures released the feature films (though it’s unclear what role the movie studio might have in the TV take). Still, one thing is for certain: Multiple networks will go crazy for the chance to make this show. Also, if producers don’t use “Axel F” as the theme song, we will not be amused.