Do you remember Steven Bochco’s ambition project about a police procedural set in the world of musicals? In which police officers serve the people and solve crimes by singing about them? Well, this was an 11-episode TV show back in 1990, and ABC paid a high sum of $1.8 million per episode to guarantee another Bochco hit, after he had his fingers in HILL STREET BLUES which had been a success for NBC. But maybe the idea was a little too off for ABC viewers. After a mediocre premiere with a little more than 14 million viewers, the show quickly sunk into a ratings hole and never came out of it again. If it weren’t for the FOX line-up in 1990, COP ROCK would have been the worst-performing show in the 1990 Fall season, which maybe was a funny thing to realize for some TV pundits back in the day.
COP ROCK is considered to be one of the worst shows in TV history. Naturally, it’s a cult classic now. Before the show was released on DVD by Shout! Factory (thank you for that, by the way, I appreciate this greatly), it was aired and reaired in syndication, and episodes even found their way online. Sometimes it’s quite a surprise what you can find on YouTube, when you are really looking for it. Today it’s kind of a shame that COP ROCK didn’t make it past eleven episodes, despite its flop status. And it maybe would have happened, if Bochco would have accepted ABC entertainment president Bob Iger’s request to cut the musical numbers. But what would COP ROCK have been in the history of network television without its musical numbers?