'Walker, Texas Ranger' - Classic Chuck Norris Series Lands on GetTV
GETTV - WEEKDAYS, 2-6 PM, STARTING JUNE 4
By Kellie Freeze
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of its network premiere, getTV has added Chuck Norris’ modern-day Western Walker, Texas Ranger to its lineup of nostalgia-based programming. The series originally aired from 1993-2001 on CBS, and after it rides onto its new home on Monday, it will air episodes on weekday and Sunday afternoons.
The series followed the adventures of Sgt. Cordell Walker (Norris), a Dallas-based member of the Texas Rangers, as he and his partner, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver James Trivette (Clarence Gilyard Jr.), fought crimes. Walker’s approach was decidedly old school while Trivette believed in more modern crime-fighting techniques involving computers and cellphones. Together, they formed an unstoppable force for good.
Jeff Meier, getTV’s general manager and senior vice president of programming, is thrilled by his network’s acquisition and shares, “Walker, Texas Ranger has been bringing its entertaining mix of crime-fighting and solid heartland values to multiple generations of viewers over the past several decades, whether in its original run or in reruns. It fits perfectly with getTV viewers’ desire for reliable storytelling packed with excitement and fun.”
The series was inspired by Norris’ 1983 action film Lone Wolf McQuade, in which Norris’ character was also a Texas Ranger and former Marine. The series also spawned a 1999 spinoff, Sons of Thunder, and the 2005 TV movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.
When we recently caught up with Gilyard, he shared, “To be honest with you, the role of Jimmy Trivette, I felt very strongly that at that time there really wasn’t anybody in the United States that could play that role because I was rodeoing. I was pretty much a cowboy at the time. I thought that that was going to be a pretty good fit.”
The action-adventure series capitalized on Norris’ fame as a martial artist and created a TV action hero who was as comfortable working as a mentor and community leader as he was using his strength and smarts to keep the community safe. A few of the series’ hallmarks included Walker’s tough-guy persona and his belief in Old West morals, Walker and Trivette’s strong partnership and friendship, and the series’ spectacularly over-the-top action and fight scenes.
“The amount of action we had, we did an action movie every week,” Gilyard recalls. “We were really packing in a lot of entertainment in those 50 minutes. People did get their money’s worth.”
And not only was every episode action packed, but the series also boasted guest stars who are a veritable who’s who of Hollywood. It seems that everyone made an appearance on Walker, Texas Ranger, from veterans including Ernest Borgnine, Gary Busey, Erik Estrada, Lee Majors, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts and John Schneider, to future stars including Haley Joel Osment, Bryan Cranston, Mila Kunis, Tobey Maguire, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Giovanni Ribisi in some of their earliest roles.
Gilyard muses that the series was so successful because “it was the return of the classic Western family — the lead cowboy and his sidekick and his love interest and then the comic relief from the elder guy. That was harkening back to the early days of Westerns. In television, we just set it in a modern environment, but we were cowboys, and people still had a taste for that.”
Meier adds that Walker, Texas Ranger “evokes our favorite classic Westerns, but with pickup trucks replacing the horses.”
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