Tom Selleck is unquestionably one of television’s most popular character actors. His charm and good looks have long guaranteed him as a fan favorite, so much so in fact that last year, NBCUniversal’s classic television network, COZI-TV, began showing reruns of “Magnum, p.i.,” (yes, it's written as lower case "p.i." on the show's logo as all "Magnum" fans know by heart), and found great ratings success. Beginning Thurs., Mar. 6, 2014, COZI-TV is launching a 16-hour marathon of the popular “whodunit,” each Thursday night in March, four hours each week, “back-to-back-to-back-to-back,” along with a very enthusiastic host, Peter Fleming, who was chosen by COZI as the “Number One Magnum Superfan.”
Of course, the month of March means the annual NCAA Division 1 finals, called “March Madness.” So, it was a natural that COZI-TV would sponsor its own “Magnum There’s even bracketology involved (see photo inset), where fans can vote for their favorite episode each week. and running for the next four weeks. Then, on the first Thursday of April, the Final Four will run and fans will decide which is to be the best of the best of “Magnum, p.i.” Pretty clever stunt for a pretty clever show.
Of course, longtime fans know that “Magnum, p.i.” is the detective show created by Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson, which ran from 1980-1988, starring Selleck and featuring John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley and Larry Manetti. Bellisario’s inventive mind has given television viewers so many reasons to tune in each week, and still does, given the popularity of the “NCIS” franchise he created together with Don McGill.
Fans loved “Magnum, p.i.” back in the day, and it won Prime-Time Emmys for both Tom Selleck and John Hillerman, with members of the show receiving Emmy nominations from 1982-1988. “Magnum” was also nominated for Golden Globes from 1982–1988 and Tom Selleck and John Hillerman each won one through the years. Even after the show was over, the show was nominated for TV Land Awards in 2003, and 2005, finally winning in 2009.
In late 2013, COZI-TV realized the rerun bonanza potential of the show, which has 158 episodes available for broadcast, so they ran a contest to find Magnum’s No. 1 ratings superfan. Willing contenders sent in videos of why they should be voted the biggest superfan, with the right to host a “Magnum, p.i.” special, but one candidate stood out among all others: Peter Fleming.
Peter Fleming is a New Yorker who, by day, is the Vice President of Production in a printing company. On weekends he loves to bake pizza, and any other time, he loves classic television. Fleming is the real-deal when it comes to all things Magnum. He’s even managed to cultivate a perfect Selleck-moustache, owns a red Hawaiian print shirt from the Tom Selleck beachware collection, has a “Magnum” bobblehead, owns all 158 episodes on DVD, and even has an autographed photo from Tom Selleck himself. Hands down, this guy has to be the number one fan. He can even wiggle his eyebrows, Magnum-style as he stands in front of his tiki bar. Winner!
If you need a quick catch-up on the show’s premise, the dreamy Hawaiian Islands were the backdrop for the estate of the uber-successful but never seen author, Robin Masters, cared for and maintainted by John Hillerman as the ultra-fussy, overly proper “Higgins.” Higgins' two dobermans, “Zeus” and “Apollo,” also known as "the lads," kept everyone, including Magnum in check each week.
Thomas Magnum (Selleck) is a private investigator who never seems to be flush when it comes to cash; his friend T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) has a helicopter and runs an island charter business, and Rick (Larry Manetti) has a tiki bar on the island. The trio served in the Navy together and share survival skills as well as great friendship. Magnum often drafts his buddies into helping him solve whatever case he is in at the time. Magnum’s ladies’-man mystique is enhanced by his ability to use the red Ferrari 308 GTB belonging to author Masters “as though it were his own.” Good thing because he often needs to speed away from danger.
These days, Tom Selleck has a home (as well as his good looks and moustache) starring each Friday night on the CBS procedural, “Blue Bloods,” where he plays a New York police commissioner, Frank Reagan. But Selleck as Reagan on Fridays may well be overshadowed by Selleck as Magnum on Thursdays this month. If you don’t believe that, check out the “Magnum Mania” message board online. Imagine a show that has been off the air almost 30 years with an active fan base still happy to discuss the episodes and actors. That’s quality television, which is what COZI-TV is all about, bringing back the best of the good old days when the entire family could watch without a parental guidance rating code appearing on the screen.
So, for all you “Magnum, p.i.” fans, tune in each Thursday in March, and vote at COZI-TV for your favorite episodes. On the Suddenlink cable system, COZI-TV is channel 118. To find COZI on your cable network, click here. Now that you're up to speed, queue up and remember the signature guitar riffs of the Mike Post theme song and get ready for the Magnum March Marathon. It's Tom Selleck time once again.