NEW YORK-Controversies over primetime shows are annual rituals, but the coming firestorm over Steven Bocheo’s new NYPD Blue promises to be a doozy. The graphic" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

Graphic ‘NYPD Blue’ sets off alarms By Eric Schmuckle

NEW YORK-Controversies over primetime shows are annual rituals, but the coming firestorm over Steven Bocheo’s new NYPD Blue promises to be a doozy. The graphic

Those who’ve seen it seem to love the show. “The most exciting pilot I’ve seen since Hill Street Blues.” said BBDO senior vp Stu Shlossman. Said Ayer senior vp Aaron Cohen, “The production technique is interesting, and the acting and characterization are terrific.”
Still, some top buyers are leery. “As an advertiser I won’t get near it,” said Shlossman. “If you’re a publicly held company, you don’t want to get letters from shareholders asking why are you supporting soft-core porn on TV.” Added Backer Spielvogel Bates exec vp Bob Silberberg, “The nets have to look at how they’re funded, and the last time I looked, it wasn’t with subscriber fees.”
Language is one problem for NYPD Blue, with free use of such terms as “‘tits” and “douchebag.” But the sex scene in the screened episode set off alarms. The backsides of both participants were visible, “crack and all,” mused one buyer. Bared breasts were also shown–and hardly fleetingly.
Yet interest exists. “We certainly won’t say ‘Don’t put us in it,'” said Saatchi & Saatchi/N.Y.senior vp Betsy Frank. “We’ll take it in packages and screen each episode.” Cohen also said he’d make the call for his clients week-by-week. The only natural ad categories for NYPD Blue are movies and beers. But the beers may steer clear because of the Dennis Franz character’s drinking problem–which may be scripted out soon, helping to open up that category.
Ultimately, of course, viewers will decide. Said one ABC exec, “At a 17 share, it’s a worthless piece of trash. At a 30 share, it’s a courageous, breakthrough show.”
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)