The original series ran for 12 seasons on CBC, from 1984 to 1996, and centred on main character Jessica, a mystery novelist with a knack for solving murders (played by Angela Lansbursy). It’s widely considered to be one of the most successful shows of all time, drawing audiences of more than 23 million when it aired on Sundays.
Oscar-winner Octavia is best known for her performance as a feisty black maid in the Civil Rights-era film The Help, for which she won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
"I've always considered myself an armchair detective," said Octavia. "And in a recent meeting with Bob Greenblatt, he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV.
"Naturally I said J.B. Fletcher meets Colombo... And here we are! I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Dave Janollari again, and Alex Cunningham, a brilliant writer who shares my love for all things mysterious and Angela Lansbury."
NBC has planned to produce a pilot, but there’s no guarantee the show will earn a regular timeslot. Should the reboot move to regular series, however, it would mark Octavia’s first regular role.