February 19, 2015 / 9:49 PM / 4 years ago

Wanted: ideas to engineer a female MacGyver TV series

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hollywood and top engineers are crowdsourcing ideas for a TV series with a female MacGyver, the brainy 1980s small-screen secret agent who used little more than a paper clip to solve tricky problems.

The University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering is launching the competition for series ideas with Washington’s National Academy of Engineering and the MacGyver Foundation, officials said on Thursday.

“We want to be surprised. We want to be amazed,” Lee Zlotoff, the creator of the original “MacGyver” series, told a news conference.

Organizers are hoping that a show featuring a dashing female engineer will do for the field what the “CSI” series has done for forensic sciences.

They also want to get more girls and young women interested in engineering. Less than 20 percent of engineering bachelors degrees go to women, and trends point to even fewer in the future.

“Who among us wants to live in a world designed primarily by males?” said Ruth David, former deputy director of science and technology for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Zlotoff urged people to send in ideas for the new TV show by April 17. Five winners will receive $5,000 and be paired with producers to create a script, which will then be pitched to a network.

The “MacGyver” series ran on ABC from 1985 to 1992, with Richard Dean Anderson starring as Angus MacGyver, a secret agent educated as a scientist.

Reporting by Lacey Johnson; Editing by Eric Beech

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