There will be no easy way out of this 12th and final season for “NYPD Blue’s” fictional 15th precinct.
Lt. Thomas Bale, the bullying and bureaucratic bete noire played by Currie Graham, apparently is not going anywhere. That’s the bad news-especially for those who, like The Insider, have spent the “Blue” hour in sheer physicalized angst ever since Bale and his Internal Affairs Bureau rigidity were forced on Andy Sipowicz, et al.
The good news is that while the begging-to-be-fragged Bale is the dramatic equivalent of a stick of dynamite, Steven Bochco, co-creator and executive producer, said, “I’m not blowing up the building. I don’t think that’s an appropriate way to end this series.” When the finale is broadcast March 1 on ABC, all of this season’s “NYPD” regulars are likely to be physically intact, present and accounted for, Mr. Bochco said.
He is tickled to hear that Bale, whom he said “is not a bad guy; he doesn’t have malevolence in his heart,” has become such a lightning rod-one fan, who claimed to speak for 1,500 others, in October left a message at “Blue” production offices, saying, “If you don’t do something [about the presence of Bale], you’re going to lose us to `Law & Order.”‘
“What we wanted to do this year is to give ourselves a bed, if you will, a basis for ongoing conflict and drama so that the last year doesn’t just sort of feel like a victory lap. We really wanted to tell an interesting story,” Mr. Bochco said.
Creative mission accomplished.
That makes for a neat enough segue to Mr. Bochco’s much-awaited next project, “Over There,” a drama being developed for FX about soldiers fighting in Iraq and their stateside loved ones.
While FX dramas are largely peopled with anti-heroes, Mr. Bochco said, “I think anybody who goes to war is a hero. What I like about this show is that for every man or woman in harm’s way in Iraq there’s a family back home scared to death for their safety and well-being. What makes this a good drama is regardless of one’s politics, which I think we do a pretty good job of avoiding, we go back and forth between over there and over here. We see both sides of that equation.”
Four scripts have been written, production will begin in January and Mr. Bochco was expecting to complete casting the roster of new faces last week.
No Currie Graham?
“No, gawd, I wish. I just love that guy so much,” Mr. Bochco said. “I’ll work with him again. I don’t know where, when, how, but that’s a guy who’s big-time on my radar screen.”
‘Judge Judy’ Gets Two Years
Quietly concluded recently is a new deal that keeps Judge Judith Sheindlin on the TV bench of Paramount Domestic Television’s “Judge Judy,” at least through the 2007-08 season. The Insider doesn’t even have enough fingers, toes, wrinkles and little rolls of fat to comprehend Judge Judy’s previous contract, said to have added up to some $100 million, so don’t even ask how much of a raise the sharp-tongued judge is getting.
All the Insider knows is “Judge Judy” is having a good year, averaging a 5.1 Nielsen rating nationally and improving new time slots by an average of 23 percent year to year in November. Oh, and don’t forget the proof that Judge Judy is a prime cash cow in New York, where WCBS-TV is getting her show back from WNBC-TV in fall 2006 in a deal said to be worth $13 million a year.