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1983: 'CHiPS' Takes its Final Ride on NBC
July 17, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1983, the NBC police drama CHiPs aired its last original episode. The series, launched in 1977, followed the exploits of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle patrolmen, Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (Eric Estrada).

As police dramas go, CHiPs was anything but edgy. There was little violence, and the cases the cops handled were generally routine calls ranging from freeway accidents to stolen cars. The remainder of the show focused on the interaction between the show's characters (the trouble-prone "Ponch" routinely tested the patience of the duo's superior, Sgt. Joe Getraer, played by Robert Pine) and the active social lives of the two bachelors.

In 1981, Estrada was temporarily replaced by former Olympian (and Keeping Up with the Kardashians star) Caitlyn Jenner (then known as Bruce Jenner) as a result of a salary dispute between Estrada and the show's producers. Wilcox left the show in 1982.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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