That '70s Show actor Wilmer Valderrama has been cast to play Ponch in the movie version of CHiPs. The television series, which aired on NBC from 1977-1983, followed the professional and social antics of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers, "CHP" partners Frank "Ponch" Poncherello and Jon Baker.
According to LA Daily News who spoke with Valderrama, Erik Estrada, the original Ponch on the series, came by the movie set. Valderrama claims that Estrada gave him his blessings to play Ponch and said "Listen, Wilmer, I could not ever imagine anybody else better than you".
Many fans of the television series have expressed concern that the movie adaptation will lampoon the original program and Valderrama assured that "What we're doing is, we're having fun with it, but we're not making fun of 'CHiPs.' A lot of the remakes that have happened in the last couple of years have failed because they make fun of their franchise. You can't be making fun of something that at some point people cared so much about," he points out. "For the world, 'CHiPs' is a very serious drama. You can't disrespect that. What we want is for the comedy to be very organic and just be character driven -- not to have funny costumes or funny gags."
Valderrama stated that the Jon Baker character has not been cast, although interesting enough, several "A-list" actors have inquired about the role.