Wake us when it's over TV: He doesn't mind being called 'Ricky' and other observations from the new 'NYPD Blue' actor.

July 17, 1998|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

PASADENA, Calif. -- Can Rick (a k a Ricky) Schroder make the journey in viewers' minds from child star in "Silver Spoons" to adult detective on the mean streets of "NYPD Blue"?

That's the question that was asked a dozen different ways here this week as Schroder -- accompanied by producers Steven Bochco and David Milch, as well as co-star Dennis Franz -- met with television critics in Step 1 of their sales campaign for the new Rick Schroder. He takes Jimmy Smits' place on the show this fall.

For a guy with only a third-grade formal education, the 28-year-old Schroder gave some pretty solid answers.

Start with the name.

"It doesn't bother me at all, still being called Ricky. My mother and my wife call me Ricky," he said.

"I'll tell you the story behind it if you want. I was like 18 years old, I'd just done a miniseries ['Lonesome Dove'], and my agent comes to me and says, "It's time for you to drop the 'y.' You should be Rick. We're going to create this new persona for you."

"So, I think about it for about two seconds, and I say, 'OK.' And then some people made notice of it and started making fun of me."

Rick doesn't like being made fun of, he says.

"Yeah, it has been a struggle having been a child star. But all good things are a struggle, I think," he said.

"I survived because I had a life outside of this. That was the biggest thing. I have a wife and three kids and a ranch in Colorado. And I've got many other hobbies and interests besides this.

"The truth of the matter is, I wouldn't be sitting here today

with Steven Bochco, David Milch and Dennis Franz if I hadn't had those struggles, because that's what made who I am today and gave me the strength I have to act with this guy," he added, referring to Franz, whose partner he will play.

Beyond Schroder's character being the partner of Franz's Andy Sipowicz and being in his late 20s, Milch and Bochco claim specific details have not been decided for Shroder's character. They haven't even settled on a name. Smits' Bobby Simone character will appear in the first five episodes before leaving the series this season, but the producers say they don't know whether Schroder will appear with him or be held back until the sixth week of "NYPD Blue."

Pub Date: 7/17/98

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