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Smiles, everyone: Fantasy Island set to return (again), without the island this time

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The second (maybe third) coming of Aaron Spelling continues. Following a few “Unauthorized” Lifetime TV movies exploring the backstories of 90210 and Melrose Placealong with an announced revamp of Hart To Hart with a gay couple in the lead—another Spelling chestnut is headed back to the small screen. Fantasy Island was part of Spelling’s powerhouse Saturday night lineup in its ’70s heyday, featuring Ricardo Montalban as mysterious benefactor Mr. Roarke, who provided fantasies for his visitors in this anthology series. Like The Love Boat series that preceded it, Fantasy Island offered a multitude of opportunities for guest stars, ranging from the golden age of cinema to the current teen-idol crop.

A ’90s reboot cast Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke, but failed to take off. But given the current Spelling-friendly climate, ABC is trying again. Deadline Hollywood reports that writer Sheldon Turner (Up In The Air) is onboard to help finesse this update, which gets rid of the island in Fantasy Island (?), instead using the show’s title as the name of a company that will fabricate its clients’ fervent wants and desires. Mr. Roarke will also be a Ms. Roarke in this incarnation; she will be less mysterious than her predecessors, with her life featured in some storyline arcs. Turner sounds like a promising get for this reboot, but we will have to hold our excitement: Fantasy Island is just not going to be the same without the bell, the jeeps, and the plane.

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