Starsky & Hutch is an ABC network action series created by William Blinn, starring David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as the lead characters. The show aired from September 10, 1975 to May 15, 1979, lasting for 4 seasons and 93 episodes.
The pilot episode aired as an "ABC Movie of the Week" on April 30, 1975.
The series was about streetwise Detective David Starsky and his intellectual partner, Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson protecting the citizens & the streets of the fictional town of Bay City, California; they get their inside information from flamboyant bad-boy Huggy Bear and spar with their no-nonsense boss, Captain Harold Dobey. ==Cast==.
- David Soul as Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson
- Paul Michael Glaser as Detective Dave Starsky
- Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear
- Bernie Hamilton as Captain Harold Dobey
"Starsky & Hutch" aired on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. and aired against the long forgotten "Kate McShane" on CBS and the second season law drama "Petrocelli" on NBC. The show had no trouble beating its competition and finished #16 with a 22.5 share in the A.C. Nielsen Ratings.
For season two, the show was moved to Saturday night for the second season and was up against tough competition on CBS with the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" followed by "The Bob Newhart Show," and NBC had the "NBC Saturday Night Movie."
Although the show lost some of their viewers from the move from the Wednesday night time slot from the previous season, "Starsky & Hutch" held its own, finishing #34 with a 19.6 rating in the Nielsens.
In 1977, a rising concern in America about violence on TV, along with Paul Michael Glaser's own concerns about the level of violence in the series which forced the writers to reduce the violent "action" scenes, use more romantically & socially themed storylines, and play-up the "buddy-buddy" aspect of the show's leads even more.
At the same time, the lead actors (Glaser in particular) became jaded with the general theme; these and other factors contributed to the fading popularity of the series.
Glaser indicated several times that he wanted to get out of his contract and he quit the series; he even sued the producers to force a release from his contract before the beginning of the third season.
It seemed that Glaser would not be returning for filming, so to fill the presumed void, the character of Officer Linda Baylor (portrayed by Roz Kelly) was created, and a number of alternative scripts featuring her instead of Starsky were written (whether the show's name would have remained the same, is unknown).
After being granted more creative control over scripts, opportunities to direct episodes, and a per-episode pay raise (to $35,000, up from $5,000), Glaser returned to the show and ultimately, Officer Baylor only appeared in one episode (alongside both Starsky and Hutch): the Play Misty for Me–inspired episode, "Fatal Charm."
Although a major change in the tone of the show, with a lot of the violence ejected and more of a focus on the friendship of the two leads, viewership remained steady during the season.
From September to December 1977, the show stayed in its Saturday night time slot, now up against "The Jeffersons" & "The Tony Randall Show" on CBS, and the NBC "Saturday Night at the Movies".
In January 1978, "Starsky and Hutch" moved back to it original Wednesday night time slot of 10 p.m. The ratings dropped a little bit, however, the show finished #33 (tied with ABC's "Lucan") with a 19.2 Nielsen rating.
Glaser again voiced his desires to leave during the fourth and final season and this time, Starsky's wayward younger brother, Nick (portrayed by John Herzfeld) was introduced, in the episode Starsky's Brother; it was intended that if Glaser was to quit, that the reformed Nick would take David's place on the police force (and allow the series to avoid a title change).
However, the disgruntled Glaser decided to return yet again, to finish out the season. Although a fifth season was planned, increasing production costs, Glaser's persistent (and oft-publicized) desire to move on, and declining ratings, brought an end to the series.
The final episode, "Sweet Revenge" (which has Starsky fighting for his life after being gunned down), originally had its co-lead dying in the early drafts. However, the producers decided to have the character survive, as it was felt that a dead Starsky would disrupt the continuity of reruns/syndication, and preclude the option of the producers' reviving the series in the near future.
In its final season, "Starsky & Hutch" finished #36 in the Nielsen ratings.