Debut: January 01, 1977
Ended: January 01, 1983

CHiPs — California Highway Patrols — was a mainstay of disco-era TV, and still stands today as an immensely enjoyable throwback to the period. Created in 1977 by producer Rick Rosner, the show followed a troupe of California motorcycle cops as they patrol the Golden State’s freeways looking for ne’er-do-wells of all stripes (the formula was about five cases per one-hour episode). Leading the way is Officer Francis “Ponch” Poncherello, a carefree cop with a devestating, lady-killing smile and an easy-going (but not TOO easy-going) attitude to match the SoCal lifestyle. His partner through most of the series’ six year run was blonde-haired Officer Jonathan Baker, who balanced Ponch’s free spirit with a healthy dose of reason and logic. Wilcox left the show in 1982, and was replaced by Tom Reilly, playing Officer Bobby “Hot Dog” Nelson. With John Carl Parker’s memorably brassy theme greeting viewers each week, CHiPs began spearheading NBC’s Thursday night “family hour” schedule, but after a while, moved to weekends, where it flourished, breaking into the top 25 highest-rated shows for three years straight. Its chief weapon: a very family-friendly attitude with still enough room left for plenty of car chases, IN ONE GREAT EPISODE THE TEAM STOP A MOTORIST FOR SPEEDING, IT TURNS OUT TO BE BRODERICK CRAWFORD FROM THE EARLIER SERIES "HIGHWAY PATROL" motorcycle wipeouts, jack-knifing trucks, frantic or wise-cracking motorists, and disco dancing.

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