How ‘The Coltons’ Was Born

The Coltons — the prospective series that’s being spun off the May 20 episode of ABC’s MacGyver — evolved from an idea that just grew, and grew and grew, says Steve Downing, “three years ago, we had Richard Lawson guest as a bounty hunter on MacGyver. It worked out so well we decided to bring him back, but by the time the second script was developed Richard wasn’t available.” So the team gave Lawson’s character a brother – Frank, who was played by actor Cleavon Little — and rewrote the story to focus on him. “Cleavon was so terrific,” relates Downing, “we wanted to bring him back.” And so a script for a third bounty hunter segment was written, but, as it turned out, “neither Cleavon nor Richard was available at the time. So we said, ‘Let’s have the story rewritten and feature a younger brother, and that’s when we created Billy [played by actor Cuba Gooding]’.” Downing and company liked the way that turned out and that’s when they decided to do a series with all three bounty-hunter brothers.

TV Guide, May 1991

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