More on the History of The Bold Ones

After writing about The New People‘s connection to The Bold Ones (originally called The Now People) yesterday, I became interested in reading up on the history of the series. The first mention I can find of it is in the February 18th, 1969 edition of The New York Times in an article about NBC’s fall schedule for the 1969-1970 season.

According to the article, The Now People was only a working title [1]. From the very start the umbrella series was to include a police drama, a legal drama and a medical drama. But apparently Joseph Cotten was intended to star in the medical drama alongside John Saxon (E.G. Marshall would eventually be signed as Dr. David Craig in The Bold Ones: The New Doctors).

On February 20th, The Los Angeles Times published its own article about NBC’s new schedule, noting that two of the programs under The Bold Ones banner would be spun off from NBC World Premiere Movies [2]. The unnamed police drama, starring Leslie Nielsen and Hari Rhodes, would begin as Deadlock on Saturday, February 22nd, 1969 (according to Broadcasting the telefilm was originally titled The Men in the Middle [3]). The legal drama, titled The Adversaries, would start as The Whole World Is Watching (Broadcasting stated that telefilm was also called The Adversaries [4]) on Saturday, March 11th, 1969 and would star Burl Ives, James Farentino and Joe Campanella. Only The New Medicine, the medical drama, would not originate as a World Premiere Movie. Joseph Cotton was still attached as star.

Cecil Smith praised Deadlock, calling it “beautifully made, rich in detail and atmosphere, inteilligent in concept and crisp in performance” [5]. And he had more to say:

Producer William Sackheim, who collaborated on story and script, offered pertinency clothed in melodramatic action but with a large measure of understanding; director [Lamont] Johnson, eschewing the gimmicks that infest Universal’s World Premiere films, told his story compactly and forcefully; actors Rhodes and Nielsen should be fine antagonists for the series to come [6].

On March 25th, The Los Angeles Times reported that The Now People had been retitled The Bold Ones and that E.G. Marshall had been signed to star in one of the segments [7].

Up to this point, the individual segments of The Bold Ones appear to have had only working titles. The first instance I can find of the actual titles is in an August 3rd, 1969 article in The Chicago Tribune, when Clay Gowran lists them as The New Doctors, The Lawyers and The Protectors, respectively [8]. A few weeks later, however, Cecil Smith called the Leslie Nielsen/Hari Rhodes segment Law Enforcement, which suggests that the names were in flux as late as August (Law Enforcement doesn’t fit at all with the other names, though) [9].

In any event, The Bold Ones premiered on Sunday, September 14th, 1969 with an episode of The New Doctors. The Lawyers began the following week on September 21st and The Protectors a week later on September 28th. Both The Lawyers and The New Doctors would return in the 1970-1971 season (they ended in 1972 and 1973, respectively) while The Protectors was dropped from The Bold Ones after its first season. It was replaced by The Senator, starring Hal Holbrook.

Sources: 1 Gent, George. “N.B.C. Replacing 7 Shows in Fall.” New York Times. 18 Feb. 1969: 82.
2 Smith, Cecil. “NBC Will Unveil Fall Slate Today.” Los Angeles Times. 20 Feb. 1969: H21.
3 “‘Get Smart’ switches networks, nights.” Broadcasting. 24 Feb. 1969: 64-65.
4 Ibid.
5 Smith, Cecil. “Movie ‘Deadlock’ Presented on NBC.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Feb. 1969: G24.
6 Ibid.
7 “E.G. Marshall to Star in TV Series.” Los Angeles Times. 25 Mar. 1969: G18.
8 Gowran, Clay. “In a Jittery Year, Networks Turn to Medical Dramas.” Chicago Tribune. 3 Aug. 1969: F14.
9 Smith, Cecil. “Rhoes Dreams of Castles in Spain.” Los Angeles Times. 19 Aug. 1969: C17.


3 Comments

  • GMJ says:

    FYI: as of this posting (June 16, 2015), “The Senator” segment has been released on DVD and “The Protectors” will be released in September 2015. Shout! Factory / Timeless Media is the DVD distributor.

  • ERIC PLEASANT says:

    I simply fail to see why THE DOCTORS segment made it to the final season only. THE LAWYERS, I felt, were much more interesting and should at least been spun off into its own series or finish up with the medical one.

  • charles perry says:

    BTW, the reason one segment was called “The NEW Doctors” instead of “The Doctors” is that NBC already had a soap opera with that title and didn’t want to confuse viewers.

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