Darren McGavin had a love-hate relationship with playing Kolchak

"There were scripts we just threw away."

For a series that never even got to air its original season due to low ratings, Kolchak: The Night Stalker has well earned the loyal fanbase that it has accumulated in the years since its cancellation. It should be noted that one of those fans, in particular, is Kolchak himself, Darren McGavin. 

In a 1983 interview with Fangoria Magazine, McGavin spoke about the possibility of a Kolchak revival. Though he was doubtful of the revival, he was still confident in the character. He said, "I don't think it will be revived, though I haven't really thought about it lately." But he clarified, "I'll talk to 'em. I love the character. I'd pull the suit out of mothballs."

Despite the love, McGavin was very frank about the difficulty he had during the show's original production. He commented, "There was a lot of friction between myself and the production entity. We ended up spending so much money on scripts that were totally unproducible. There were scripts we just threw away."

By the end of the season, McGavin said that he was the one who proposed the idea to call it quits on the show. He said, "I'd have to give a symposium to explain what happened. I called up the network and said, 'Let's cancel this god-damn thing. You're losing money, we're losing money, and I'm tired and I don't want to do anymore. Why don't we just stop?' Three hours later, they canceled the show."

McGavin went into more detail about his issues with the show's plotlines, specifically the recurring "monster of the week," stories. He questioned, "How many monsters can you go through? It's silly. You're gonna do the werewolf, you're gonna do the vampire, and you're gonna do the zombie, and when you run out of those, what other stories are you gonna tell?"

Watch Kolchak: The Night Stalker on MeTV!

Saturdays at 12 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

10 Comments

Shotguntony1 7 months ago
McGavin: "How many monsters can you go through? It's silly. You're gonna do the werewolf, you're gonna do the vampire, and you're gonna do the zombie, and when you run out of those, what other stories are you gonna tell?"
Me: "Hanna-Barbera were able to create enough monsters for two seasons of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" ...perhaps what "Kolchak: the Night Stalker" needed was 'monsters' that turned out to be nothing more than normal human villains in disguise."
sagafrat69 8 months ago
Shameful this show only had one season. Way ahead of it's time in terms of t.v. horror. Not the best show at the time for network television but cable or streaming not invented yet. The show needed writers like Chris Carter or Vince Gilligan. Those two were inspired to do "X-Files" because of "Kolchak". I was a 10 year old kid when the show aired. Remember being scared watching those episodes and loving every minute of it. Good memories.

Jimtypes 8 months ago
I always loved the show, I was a kid when it aired. I suppose the writers were not too creative. Think of Rod Serling and all the odd creatures he came up with. I think what I liked most about Kolchak was when it got scary, Kolchak was still the up and positive character. He got creeped out from time to time but still he was always at the paper hitting the typewriter keys...
BuckRogers 8 months ago
He had a problem about how to do a "monster of the week"? One poster here said that the crestors of "The X-Files" figured that out, and I would add the show "Supernatural" did the same, with the format lasting 15 seasons! I do remember an episode of "Stan against Evil" where a character based on Carl Kolchak (complete with the same suit, tie, shoes, and hat) was wandering around and narrating parts of the show. The Kolchak influence runs deep and wide through horror pop culture!
Runeshaper 8 months ago
I have to disagree with the concept of , ""How many monsters can you go through?" I think there are always more characters to create.
BenSobeleone Runeshaper 8 months ago
The closest thing they had to a Frankenstein monster episode was Mr. R.I.N.G. which was a military robot that runs amok.
Andybandit 8 months ago
I have never seen K:TNS. I look forward to watching it on Svengoolie on Saturday.
Rick 8 months ago
Yep. When asked about the show, he usually talked about how Kolchak was a great *character*. Which is true, but what he didn't say said volumes. After going through the monster-of-the-week episodes, they didn't know where to take it. The X-Files figured that out.

They also should have had John Fiedler's county morgue character in more episodes, and the police people he had to deal with should have been recurring, not one-offs. Those were great potential dynamics.

Having said that, that show produced some of the greatest individual hours in broadcast TV. "Horror in the Heights"? It doesn't get better than that.
cperrynaples Rick 8 months ago
Fun Fact: McGavin walked away with 2 scripts completed but not shot!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?