Reports of a TV Western revival—which, like Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles, is comin', it’s a-comin'—have been leaning heavily on proposed reboots of classic oaters such as The Rifleman and Have Gun Will Travel, but none of those shows can trace their lineage all the way back to O. Henry. Not like The Cisco Kid, who first appeared as a vicious Mexican bandit in a 1907 O. Henry story titled “The Caballero’s Way,” before being reformed and turned into the hero of numerous movies and radio and TV series, including a new one that CBS is now putting into development with the help of Salma Hayek.
Cisco may not be the best-remembered Western hero, but he seems to keep coming back, probably because of the while "Latin hero" angle. That was his appeal to the multiethnic band War, after all, whose song “The Cisco Kid”—an enduring tribute to frontier life and eating salty peanuts out of the can—charted at No. 2 in 1973. And it surely made him attractive to Hayek, who will serve as executive producer of the new series alongside X-Men producer Lauren Schuler Donner and Diego Gutierrez, who is also writing the pilot.
The new series will update the story to modern Los Angeles—familiar territory for Gutierrez, who has written for The Shield, in addition to Without A Trace and the Latin drug lord miniseries Kingpin. Today's Cisco will be a former Marine who patrols the streets of L. A. with his sidekick, solving crimes, defending the defenseless, and befriending the friendless. It's the first comeback for the Kid since a 1994 cable TV movie starring Jimmy Smits as Cisco and Cheech Marin as his sidekick Pancho—and if you’re unfamiliar with the characters, perhaps the casting there tells you everything you need to know.