New ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Reboot Approved for $9.3 Million from State’s Film Grant Program

Chuck Norris starred as the titular Cordell Walker in Walker, Texas Ranger throughout the ‘90s, but now the role will be helmed by Austin-based actor Jared Padalecki in a reboot of the show by the CW that premieres Thursday.

The show could also receive the most money that the state has given to a single project through its Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP).

In October, the Austin City Council approved a grant of $141,000 through a local entertainment grant program to go toward the reboot.

An internal memo published before the city’s approval revealed that the project was estimated to generate $17.1 million in wages for Austin residents as well as $5.8 million for costs such as catering and lodging.

The memo also stipulated that Walker “received the ‘green light’ for approval of a $9.3 million state incentive” through Texas’ grant program.

Though receipt of the grant is contingent upon verification of a long list of requirements, if the full $9.3 million is granted for the production, it will top the highest paid production in the state so far.

A list of all approved TMIIIP grants obtained through an open records request to the governor’s office shows that since 2008 when the program went into effect, the state gave the largest grant of $8.9 million for the production of the fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead.

Other recent substantial grants include $3.8 million for the first season of Queen of the South and $4 million for the second season, $5.3 million for the first season of The Son and $4.5 million for the second, and $4.6 million for a video game production from the Austin-based Nintendo subsidiary Retro Studios.

In Governor Greg Abbott’s legislative appropriations request for the 2022-2023 fiscal years, Abbott requested $45 million for the TMIIIP, down $5 million from what was approved in the previous biennium.

If the Texas legislature continues to fund the program and the CW’s Walker performs well, further grants could be in store for the distinctly Texas-focused show.

Early reviews say that the reboot is “just as cheesy and awkward” as the original — complete with a roundhouse kick — but that the more conservative, Judeo-Christian themes of the original have been replaced with more progressive undertones alongside the location move from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to Austin.

The pilot episode of the show will air on January 22 and will be available to view on the CW app the day after.

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