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My NPR adventure: How 'Golden Boy' stretches limits of CBS' cop drama formula

Theo James and Chi McBride star in CBS' Golden Boy


Theo James and Chi McBride star in CBS' Golden Boy



These are the times which try network TV executives’ souls.

It is becoming more obvious by the week that many of the new shows unveiled this fall have failed to catch on with viewers. And worse: The midseason programs planned to serve as backups are failing as bad or worse.

NBC’s Do No Harm debuted earlier this year with the lowest rating of any new show on any network. ABC’s Zero Hour brought ER alum Anthony Edwards back to television in a creaky Da Vinci Code knockoff that produced the lowest rating of any new show on ABC.

And there are several more new shows debuting over the next few weeks on the networks which will likely meet similar fates.

That’s why I was so interested in CBS’ debut tonight of a new police drama called Golden Boy. It takes the CBS formula for a police “procedural” show and stretches it to the limit; turning most of the program into a flashback detailing how a promising young homicide detective became the youngest police commissioner in New York City history.

CBS, which is expected to win ratings among 18 to 49 viewers in February’s “sweeps” ratings period for the first time since 1998, is doing well at a time when network TV’s fortunes are failing – blessed with the most traditional viewers on television.

Golden Boy features another Brit playing American – Theo James, who perfectly embodies the brash young William Clark Jr. but is a little less believable as the wounded older commissioner. His older self bookends every episode, relating some lesson he learned on the job which then becomes a case the younger Clark tackles as a detective.

Surprisingly, the device mostly works for the four preview episodes I saw, which led me to pull together a commentary for NPR highlighting how this point the way for CBS to reinvent an old formula with enough new twists to keep that 18 to 49 crown.

Check it out below; see the full pilot on by clicking here (sorry no embed available):





[Last modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 7:43am]


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