Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Soundbytes: Blue Tuesday

ABC/Bochco Productions

Henry Simmons fans—and who isn’t one, especially after these shots—pay attention. After tonight, images such as these are about to disappear from prime time television. This evening, ABC will pull NYPD Blue from its lineup.

After 12 seasons on the job, the network suits are retiring the well-decorated detectives at the 15th Precinct. When Blue debuted in September 1993, the series earned a phenomenal 27 Emmy nominations during it's first season.

Captures via Jimmy/Austin and Da DL Crib

Since then, the gritty crime drama has been up for 82 Emmys, and has won 20. Executive Producer Steven Bochco says if he wanted to launch NYPD Blue today instead of '93, it would never be greenlighted.

"The medium has become increasingly conservative," Bochco told television critics attending their annual winter tour in Los Angeles. "I don't think today we could launch or sell a show like NYPD Blue."

Bochco says Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during last year's Super Bowl has changed the prime time climate. Since then, he says his producers have had to fight ABC over content that was never questioned before. Meanwhile, the airwaves have become cluttered with lame reality fare, and fluffy scripted shows like The OC, and Desperate Housewives.

Many long-time Blue aficionados—myself included—are not surprised by the cancellation. In the past six years, the show has faltered since Jimmy Smits’ character—Detective Bobby Simone—was killed. Most notably has been the revolving cast.

The only constant has been Dennis Franz. He's an actor's actor, and his performance as anti-hero Andy Sipowicz has earned him eight Emmy nominations. Franz has won the award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times. It's unprecedented to win four Emmys for the same character on the same dramatic series

But lucky for us, the show survived. Otherwise, we would never have seen these weekly yummy images of Henry Simmons on Tuesday nights. He joined the show in 2000, and admittedly while some of the writing has lost its punch, there's nothing like an impressive physique storyline to tease viewers.

Tonight is a two hour special. Jimmy Smits will host the first hour, an emotional look at some of the milestones in the show's history.

The second hour is the final episode. Sipowicz (Franz) is pressured by federal agents to close a case he starts a new chapter in his life.

Saying Goodbye to a True 'NYPD Blue' Detective: New York Times
NYPD Blue (ABC) Tonight 9/8c.
Syndicated episodes on TNT.