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The originals were good, but their replacements were great. A look at 10 TV characters who successfully filled the shoes of their popular predecessors.
Jun 24, 2009
TV.com Top 10: TV's Best Replacement Characters
Stefanie Lee

It happens. Contracts end, actors move on, people die, or maybe it's just time for a change. No matter what cause, in the course of producing popular TV shows, it sometimes becomes necessary to replace beloved characters with new talent. Executing a character transfusion is a delicate procedure, but when it works, replacement characters can give old shows new vitality. It's not that the originals were bad; it's just that the replacements are sometimes even better.

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This week brings a bit of a lull in the recent storm of DVD action, but that's not to say there aren't a few gems available. Animation fans will rejoice over new releases from SpongeBob SquarePants and Goof Troop, comedy buffs will love 3rd Rock From the Sun, and no one can argue with a season-three set from NYPD Blue. Enjoy!
Feb 21, 2006
February 21, 2006 DVD Releases
Steven Bochco's take on Iraq war gets honorable discharge from FX following ratings-starved first season.
Nov 02, 2005
FX network ends Iraq war drama Over There

Cable television's FX channel has decided not to renew the critically praised Iraq war drama Over There for a second season due to weak ratings during the show's initial 13-episode run, the network said Tuesday.

Over There, a first-of-its-kind contemporary war drama about US troops in combat and their families back home, was cocreated by Steven Bochco, the veteran TV producer behind such landmark cop shows as Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.

While Over There garnered mostly favorable reviews, the gritty, albeit fictionalized, depiction of a real war that has grown increasingly unpopular with the American public ultimately proved a turnoff to TV viewers.

Although the series contained references to real-life events that have stirred debate over the war, including the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, the producers sought to avoid overt political messages about the conflict.

The show got off ...

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Fledgling hit Commander in Chief finds wings, earns tenure at ABC
Oct 20, 2005
ABC's Chief commands full season

ABC has elected a full season for the new drama Commander in Chief, ordering nine more episodes.

Chief is the most-watched new series of the fall season, averaging 16.5 million total viewers to lead its 9 p.m. Tuesday slot. While second in the hour in 18-49, Chief is still up 10 percent in that demo from last year's 9-10 p.m. combination of According to Jim and Rodney.

Chief has managed to weather a regime change behind the scenes this month, with TV vet Steven Bochco, the creator of L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, replacing the series' original showrunner, Rod Lurie, who remains as executive producer.

TNT to the Rescue!
Jan 13, 2010
A Second Look at Southland
Now that Southland has reappeared on cable, previously interested viewers have a chance to catch up, and original fans can finally see a fuller vision of the show.
Appeals court returns case to commission so it can rethink indecency fines.
Jul 06, 2006
FCC to reconsider TV shows' decency case

The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday asked an appeals court to return a case to the agency so it could reconsider whether some episodes of The Early Show, NYPD Blue, and Billboard music award shows violated decency standards.

The Hearst-owned station KMBC and affiliate stations with ABC Television, CBS Television, and NBC Television sued the FCC after the agency's March decision finding that some material broadcast on the stations was indecent and profane. However, the FCC did not fine any of the stations in connection with the material.

Specific programs involved in the lawsuit include eight episodes of NYPD Blue, which aired on ABC affiliate stations, and an episode of the Early Show aired on CBS. It also includes the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards aired on News Corp.'s Fox Television Network stations, according to the court filing ...

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ABC breaks with other networks on whether they want FCC to revisit proposed fines.
Jul 10, 2006
CBS, Fox, NBC oppose delay to US decency challenge

Three television networks, CBS, Fox, and NBC, Friday urged speedy court review of a decision finding some of their shows violated decency standards, opposing a delay sought by the US government.

The US Federal Communications Commission earlier this week asked an appeals court to postpone hearing the networks' challenges and return the case to the agency for two months so it can review television broadcasters' arguments.

The networks are challenging the FCC's March decision that profanity uttered on ABC's NYPD Blue, CBS's The Early Show, and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards shows on Fox was indecent. However, the agency did not propose or issue fines.

News Corp.'s Fox television stations and its affiliates called the government's request a "continuing attempt to delay and possibly evade any judicial review of its new indecency enforcement regime."

The ...

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Newcomer Page Kennedy axed from Desperate cast; no explanation shared with press.
Nov 09, 2005
Desperate Housewives actor fired from show

The actor who plays the mysterious man chained in a basement by Alfre Woodard's character on the ABC hit show Desperate Housewives has been fired from the series, the network said Tuesday.

No reason for last Friday's dismissal of the actor, Page Kennedy, was given. But sources close to the production who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was fired for some unspecified misconduct that involved no other cast members.

The sources added that the actor had not been criminally charged.

Kennedy's agent could not immediately be reached for comment.

His enigmatic role of Caleb, the fugitive from justice who has made only two fleeting appearances on the show since the character was introduced this season, is being recast, ABC spokeswoman Janet Daily said.

Kennedy will appear one more time on next Sunday's episode ...

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He may be one of comedy's hottest actors right now but this Modern Family guy wants to be a classic TV cop.
Nov 17, 2010
Eric Stonestreet really wants to be NYPD Blue's Sipowicz

He's got an Emmy for his comedy work, and a lengthy list of guest roles as a dramatic actor.

David Milch says TV news spurrs disorganized information and focuses on disaster "selling."
Apr 26, 2006
Deadwood creator: Media dumbing down news

Deadwood creator David Milch accused news media outlets Tuesday of "infantilizing" viewers with their entertainment-style coverage of such events as the September 11 attacks and the war in Iraq.

"I think the influx of information, when it's not organized by any sort of emotional or spiritual principle provided by the media, is a demoralizing and corrosive process," he said during an industry forum luncheon at the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills.

"Disaster works; disaster sells... But the media is putting us in a position where we're not permitted to have 'normal' reactions."

He likened the media coverage during the beginning of the war in Iraq with that of a "three-week miniseries with a beginning, middle, and end," where the ending was the act of the Iraqis tearing down the statue of Saddam Hussein.

"When the series was ...

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Episode 20 Season 12
Moving Day
Aired
3.1.2005
Episode 19 Season 12
NYPD Blue: A Final Tribute
Aired
3.1.2005
Episode 19 Season 12
Bale to the Chief
Aired
2.22.2005
Episode 18 Season 12
Lenny Scissorhands
Aired
2.15.2005
Aired
2.8.2005
Lt. Tony Rodriguez [ episodes 168 - 232 ]
Det. (later Sgt.) Andy Sipowicz
Det. Bobby Simone [ episodes 27 - 115, episode 247 (uncredited) ]
Sgt. Eddie Gibson [ episodes 233 - 241, recurring as Det. from 135 ]
Det. Danny Sorenson [ episode 116 - 173 ]
"This police drama contains adult language and scenes with partial nudity. Viewer discretion is advised." The potential images those words created alone caused more controversy for this series, before it had even premiered. The "Bible Belt" was up in arms and no-one had even seen an episode. In most of those southern states the local ABC affiliates refused to carry the show, which was a shame because aside from a "little" bare flesh and a couple of harsh words, they missed out on a quality television show. Of course it wasn't long before they realized it really was no big deal. Late during the first season, Steven Bochco said during an acceptance speech at the 20th Annual People's Choice Awards: "In spite of those who seek to legislate what we can and cannot see on our own television sets in the privacy of our own homes. NYPD Blue has succeeded because the American people, properly so, prefer to judge for themselves." At those awards the show was voted "favorite new television dramatic series" and "favorite television dramatic series" the first year it was eligible. The show has been nominated for and won numerous awards. Check out this IMDb link for more information. Most notably the series has been nominated for an Emmy 84 times and has won 20 of those times and Dennis Franz has claim to four of those statues. Before this series, some of the stars had an affiliation with Steven Bochco from his previous highly acclaimed series Hill Street Blues. David Caruso had guest starred in two episodes and during the 3rd season, Dennis Franz guest starred as Det. Sal Benedetto in 5 episodes and was killed off in his last appearance. Franz officially joined the cast in that show's 6th season as Lt. Norman Buntz and stayed with the show until it ended. Then the Buntz character was brought back for a short-lived comedy series called Beverly Hills Buntz the following season. This series didn't last because it was erratically scheduled as a fill-in and then couldn't build an audience. James McDaniel also appeared in a Hill Street Blues episode and then also appeared in Steven Bochco's attempt at something new, a musical police drama called Cop Rock. When Caruso left early on in the series, another Bochco veteran was called upon; Jimmy Smits who played Victor Sifuentes on Bochco's L.A. Law was brought in to play new detective Bobby Simone. While other actors have left with big screen ambitions, two actors have left the series to move onto other Bochco created programs. In 1996 there was an attempt to launch a comedy that featured as one of the characters in the ensemble PAA John Irvin played by Bill Brochtrup. Public Morals only aired one episode and was pulled. I would hesitate to call it a spin-off, since only one (at that time) minor character from this series appeared on it, but I suppose an argument could be made. After all, Dennis Franz did take his Norman Buntz character from Hill Street Blues to Beverly Hills Buntz, a comedy series that lasted much longer than Public Morals did. Bill Brochtrup returned back to the 15th and made several guest appearances before becoming a full cast member in the 6th season. In 2001 Kim Delaney left this series (with a loophole that would allow her to come back) to star in Philly. That series wasn't too long lived and Det. Russell has subsequently returned for a guest spot or two. While this cast has undergone a rotation of lead actors, Dennis Franz was the glue that held this series together. Most of the show's run was at Tuesdays at 10pm ET on ABC. The show was simulcast in HDTV. With the 2000-2001 TV season, the show became ABC's first regularly scheduled entertainment series to be broadcast in high definition. First air date: September 21, 1993 Last air date: March 1, 2005 Original air time: Tuesday 10:00:00 pm (Eastern)moreless