We are celebrating CHiPs this week, as the buddy cop favorite returned to the MeTV schedule, weeknights at 6PM/5C. If you haven't yet figured out if you're a Ponch- or a Jon-type personality, take our CHiPs quiz now.
As we were reminiscing about the short sleeves, sunglasses and bright smiles of NBC's favorite highway patrolmen, we remembered that series creator Rick Rosner, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reserve deputy himself, tried to duplicate the formula for ABC with another beachy police dramedy called 240-Robert.
240-Robert was a sort of hybrid of Emergency! and Riptide — in that the show centered around rescue services and featured a helicopter as its most developed character. Aside from the titular chopper, 240-Robert starred a young Mark Harmon. Harmon had earlier developed his fake LA cop chops as a guest star on Emergency!, playing Officer Dave Gordon in the episode "905-Wild", and as officer Gus Corbin in one hour of Adam-12. So the whole TV-show-with-a-call-sign-title thing was nothing new to him. 240-Robert was his second starring role, coming one season after the failed Sam, an LA cop-and-dog show from legendary producer Jack Webb.
Alongside Harmon was John Bennett Perry, perhaps best known as Matthew Perry's dad, and Joanna Cassidy, most famous for being the Replicant wearing the see-through raincoat in Blade Runner.
The trio of rescue workers and their cool ATVs and helicopter only lasted for one season. The show just didn't click. Perhaps it had something to do with the dull opening. Nothing gets an audience more pumped than watching some dudes carefully load a vehicle for a couple minutes! See for yourself:
Action shows in the 1980s lived and died by their credit sequences and theme songs. Would Miami Vice, CHiPs and The A-Team have survived without their iconic openings?
Or perhaps the problem with 240-Robert was that it was too true to life. The seriousness of the emergencies pushed it closer to reenactments. CHiPs was frothy, fun and pretty fake. Still, 240-Robert managed to earn itself a fan site in the Internet era! Show off your deep TV knowledge with a 240-Robert T-shirt.
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