New Kojak series staring Ving Rhames


Missy
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Ving Rhames is the New Kojak

Emmy-Award winning actor Ving Rhames ("Mission: Impossible" films, Dawn of the Dead) has signed with USA Network to a weekly series of Kojak debuting in March 2005, it was announced today by Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network & Sci Fi Channel. Production wrapped in August on a two-hour original movie, which will now serve as the premiere episode for the nine-week original series. Production begins on the series in Toronto in January 2005.

"'Kojak' is a perfect USA series," said Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and Sci Fi Channel. "The main character is a true American original, a crime-solver with an incredible mix of charm, street smarts and uncanny intuititon. And in the hands of the great Ving Rhames, this is definitely not your father's Kojak."

"The key to our Kojak is two words – Ving Rhames," said by Jeff Wachtel, USA's executive vice president, original programming. "Ving's a world-class actor who has reinvented Kojak as a prince of his city – a man who will do whatever it takes to make his world a better place."

Further casting on the series will be announced within the weeks ahead. The series will premiere in March 2005.

Kojak is the first series based on the hit police drama, which originally starred Telly Savalas as the bald, street-wise police detective with a fondness for lollypops, Lieutenant Theo Kojak, and aired on CBS from 1973 to 1978. The show was celebrated by police departments around the country for what was then considered a realistic portrayal of police work. In the pilot, Kojak hunts down a serial killer who continues to puzzle New York City detectives by targeting prostitutes with young children. After visiting a crime scene where he meets a victim's children left without their mother – let alone a legal guardian – he is overcome with anger and compassion, and vows to personally avenge the killings.

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