Cop Rock was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a composer because we were basically doing a mini-Broadway show every week.
Steven called me up one day and said, “Hey, I got an idea — but you’re going to have to be a little flexible.” And I said, “OK, what’s the idea?” He said, “Well, we’re basically going to do Hill Street Blues. But the cops are going to sing.”
I went silent. He said, “Are you there?” I said, “I’m not sure I’m here. I have one word of advice for you.” I said, “Don’t.”
He just started laughing. And I said, “No, Steven, I’m telling you this is too hard. This is too fucking hard!” I said to him, “America is not ready for the cops singing. They’re not ready for that.”
And he said: “I don’t care. I’m going to do it. And I want you to help me.”
What am I going to say to him? He’s one of my best friends. What am I going to say?
I said, “All right, I’m in.”
I had a ball doing it. I thought the pilot was great. The shows were good. The problem was finding really great singers who could act or good actors who could sing. That was the biggest problem.
It was a ballbuster, but in weird ways I was proud of it. People either loved it or hated it.
This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.