Michael Landon’s Classic Series ‘Highway to Heaven’ Getting Reboot: What to Know

by Suzanne Halliburton
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

Is your soul yearning for some Michael Landon feel-good, TV programming? How about a remake of Highway to Heaven just in time for the holiday season.

Lifetime’s reimagining of the Michael Landon classic is set to premiere Nov. 6. And it’ll be Grammy winner Jill Scott who plays the Michael Landon angel role. She’ll go by the name Angela. Barry Watson will portray Angela’s human helper. He’s a 7th Heaven alum who will play a middle school principal, the only human who knows Angela’s real identity. Everyone else thinks she’s the school’s guidance counselor. In the old Michael Landon series, he’d be in the Victor French role.

Lifetime is telling these stories as TV movies, as opposed to hour-long episodes.

“The original Highway to Heaven was appointment viewing for millions and in a time when we need those messages of hope the most,” said Tanya Lopez, Lifetime’s EVP of scripted programming. “Having worked with Jill previously for some of Lifetime’s most celebrated movies, we know she is the perfect actor to bring her passion and brilliance to this role… And the addition of Barry was just icing on the cake.”

In a sneak peak, you can see Angela introducing herself: “I’m an angel I can see and do things that other people can’t do.”

She told another human: “Angels are real we come to those who are looking for a miracle … My boss has such big plans for you … try to be the light in someone’s darkness.”

Michael Landon Ended His Relationship with NBC After Highway to Heaven

Michael Landon starred in Highway to Heaven from 1984-89. He did more than just play the lead in the heart-warming family drama. Landon also created it, produced it and directed the majority of the episodes. He played Jonathan Smith. French was a long-time friend of Landon’s who was his co-star on Little House on the Prairie. He played a retired policeman on the show and traveled with Smith for their assignments.

It marked the final TV series for Michael Landon. Highway to Heaven also could be the answer to a trivia question. It was the only series Landon starred in that took place in current times. Landon played Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza, a western set the century before. His second series was Little House on the Prairie. He was Charles “Pa” Ingalls. And like Bonanza, the show was set roughly a century before.

The cancellation of the series also marked the end of Landon’s 30-year relationship with NBC. The show ranked among the nation’s top 25 shows in its first three seasons, but then started slipping. The network decided to end the show before the series started its fifth and final season.

Michael Landon died in 1991, almost two years after Highway to Heaven went off the air.