Jill Scott, Barry Watson walk the 'Highway to Heaven' in Lifetime remake
Michael Landon knew what he was doing as he furnished wholesome, emotional family entertainment, and his estate is making a rebirth of one of his projects possible.
Landon's widow, Cindy, is among the executive producers of a new Lifetime version of "Highway to Heaven," envisioned as a recurring series of movies with the first one debuting Saturday, Nov. 6. Grammy-winning singer-actress Jill Scott fills Landon's former spot as an angel -- now named Angela -- who comes to the aid of others, working as a counselor in a high school where she mystifies the principal ("7th Heaven" alum Barry Watson) with her apparent magic.
An executive producer of the new "Highway to Heaven" as well, Scott says her new alter ego always is "about listening, patience, kindness, and being gentle in a world that obviously can feel very hectic and fast-paced. And, very often, angry. Regardless of where Angela is, she's always going to be what she is, and that's an angel."
While acknowledging that he hails from one of the most family-friendly series in TV history, Watson maintains, "I never really tried to put the two (shows) together, except they both have 'Heaven' in the title. A few months before this came about for me, I was talking to the showrunner of '7th Heaven' about everything that's been going on in the world, and how it just feels like the world needs something like this.
"Just before that, actually, I was flipping through channels on television with my wife (actress-producer Natasha Gregson Wagner) and 'Highway to Heaven' came on. And I looked at her and said, 'How come no one's done a reboot of this yet?' Little did I know it was already in the works. Everybody needs something that can maybe lift them up and help them move beyond kind of where they're stuck. I was just so happy that something like this came about, and I'm honored that they thought of me to be partners with Jill in this fun little adventure."
For Scott, the Landon association with "Highway to Heaven" was enough to inspire her to get on board for the remake.
"My grandmother thought Michael Landon was fine, OK?" she muses. "Every time we watched 'Little House on the Prairie' -- which we did faithfully -- or 'Highway to Heaven,' she would always say the same thing: 'Look at him. Just look at him.' We loved him in our house, and it was a privilege to have that script come across my desk and it said 'Highway to Heaven.' I didn't even read the script initially, I just said, 'Yes.' I was just like, 'Yeah, I want to be a part of that.'"