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The Bold Ones is the umbrella title for several television series. It was produced by Universal Television and broadcast on NBC from 1969 to 1973. It was a wheel format series, an NBC programming approach also used by that network in series such as The Name of the Game and the NBC Mystery Movie.
During the four years of the series there were four segments, three of which rotated each season:
The New Doctors was based at the "David Craig Institute for New Medicine", named after E.G. Marshall's character Dr. David Craig. David Hartman played Dr. Paul Hunter, with John Saxon (seasons one and two) as Dr. Theodore Stuart, replaced in season four by Robert Walden as Dr. Martin Cohen. These stories were medical dramas. Drs. Craig and Hunter appeared in a two-part crossover story with Ironside, "Five Days in the Death of Sgt. Brown". The crossover was produced between the departure of Saxon and the casting of Walden, and featured Vic Morrow as a third main character. The story has since been edited into a feature length Ironside story with special opening credits added for E.G. Marshall and David Hartman.
The Lawyers featured the legal firm "Nicholls, Darrell & Darrell". Burl Ives appeared as senior partner Walter Nicholls in all episodes, and Joseph Campanella was featured as Brian Darrell in almost every episode. James Farentino was initially a semi-regular character as Neil Darrell, however the episode "The Shattered Image" featured just Ives and Farentino.
The Protectors was included in the format for the first season only. This segment broke new ground for television as it concentrated on legal matters but incorporated topical racial and political elements. Leslie Neilsen played conservative police officer Lt. Sam Danforth, and Hari Rhodes played liberal District Attorney Bill Washburn. These men frequently clashed politically, professionally and personally, yet had a mutual respect and reluctant admiration for each other. The episodes featured an opening narration by a fictional deadpan radio presenter named "Al Raymond".
The Senator was included during the second season as a replacement for The Protectors. Hal Holbrook played Washington Senator Hays Stowe, a tireless crusader and investigator of social and political issues on behalf of the American citizen, giving a positive spin to the political scene in the period immediately preceding the Watergate scandal. Sharon Acker appeared as Erin Stowe, Cindy Eilbacher as Norma Stowe, and Michael Tolan as Jordan Boyle.
Like other wheel shows (The Name of The Game, The Men From Shiloh, Search, etc.) The Bold Ones segments were rotated from week to week, with the main cast of every segment credited at the top of every episode until the abbreviated final season (1972-1973), when only The New Doctors remained. The season continued for only fifteen episodes before it was canceled in January 1973, but one final episode of The Doctors was telecast in May 1973.
Like The Name of The Game, the show's opening graphic originally rotated, displaying the featured cast first, followed by the other segments' casts, with accompanying narration. In the first season, the narrator announced the series' umbrella title, followed by the narration:
|“||The New Doctors... Doctors expanding new horizons of the new medicines... The Lawyers... Lawyers defending justice in the nation's courtrooms... The Protectors... Public servants enforcing the laws of a challenging society... These are The Bold Ones.||”|
The Senator, which lasted for only eight episodes, earned nine Emmy nominations in 1971, winning five, including best drama, best "continued performance" by an actor (Hal Holbrook), and three additional separate awards for outstanding achievement in writing, direction, and film editing, respectively.
The series has been in syndication, previously paired with episodes of George Kennedy's Sarge, which was also produced by Universal.