Casting doubt on Schroder Television: If Steven Bochco wants a former child star for "NYPD Blue," there are better choices.


TO: Steven Bochco, creator of "NYPD Blue"

FROM: A television set owner

SUBJECT: Rick Schroder

Dear Mr B.:

The word out of Hollywood is you might hire one Rick Schroder to replace Jimmy Smits, who's leaving your "NYPD Blue" crime drama early next season. Through some old-fashioned reporting, we have learned that Rick Schroder's known alias is "Ricky" Schroder, co-star of the tear-jerking movie "The Champ" and star of the former side-splitting sitcom "Silver Spoons."

Frankly Mr. B., we're baffled. If you wanted a child actor to replace Smits, why not retrieve "Blue" alum David Caruso? He acted childishly enough, leaving the show after one season. But Ricky "Baby Face" Schroder?

If Rick is your man, so be it. But surely more accomplished former child actors would be better choices. Here's a short list for your consideration:

Gary Coleman. Starred in "Diff'rent Strokes." As the "Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows" once said, "The pint-sized Gary Coleman was one of the comedy discoveries of the late 1970s." Few people know, however, that Coleman auditioned for the role of Lt. Columbo. Although he didn't get the part, Coleman still has his own pint-sized raincoat.

Mike Lookinland. Best known as Bobby (now "Bob") Brady of "The Brady Bunch." He absolutely loved "Cop Rock," and considers Dennis Franz an actor of the same caliber as the late Robert Reed.

Danny Bonaduce. Bonaduce, who played Danny Partridge, is definitely available. His recent turn as "Othello" in a Shakespeare in Central Park production was both "inexplicable" and "unnecessary," critics said.

Jerry Mathers. Through his agent Eddie Haskell, Mathers has let it be known in Hollywood circles that he's willing to reprise the role of Theodore Cleaver for "NYPD Blue." Show credits could read: "Dennis Franz James McDaniel Nicholas Turturro and Jerry Mathers as Det. Beaver."

Billy Mumy. Because "Blue" hasn't attained the creative heights of "Lost in Space," Bill Mumy -- "Will Robinson" -- would lend a gritty reality to your show, Mr. B. Next season, for instance, a lime-green, mop-headed monster could assume control of the precinct, as Lt. Fancy and Dr. Smith do battle.

Johnny Whitaker. Remembered for his gutsy role as Jody on the "Family Affair" sitcom, John Whitaker could easily be your next Det. John Kelly. Or, with a little tinkering, perhaps Det. Andy Sipowicz could be the next Mr. French.

Finally, Mr. B., if you're thinking of casting a female to replace Smits, we have just two words for you:

Punky Brewster.

Pub Date: 6/18/98

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