“Passenger 57” helmer Kevin Hooks is replacing Paris Barclay as showrunner of the CBS medical drama “City of Angels.”
Exec producer Steven Bochco confirmed the hiring Tuesday, calling Hooks “a very gifted actor, producer and director.” Hooks was a director on “Angels” during its first season on CBS.
“I’ve known Kevin for 20 years and worked with him so many times as a director,” said Bochco. “I’m genuinely thrilled and excited.”
CBS is planning to relaunch “Angels” next month, premiering repeats of the skein in its new 9 p.m. Thursday timeslot on July 6. That’s the same night as the heavily hyped bow of the Eye’s new reality series “Big Brother.”
Net execs expect “Brother’s” first seg will get a large sampling; the hope is that some of that aud will stay tuned to check out “Angels.”
Meanwhile, Hooks’ arrival comes just days after reps for Barclay officially notified Bochco of the former’s unexpected decision to ankle “Angels.”
Bochco says Barclay’s reps “were looking to renegotiate his deal,” but because CBS had ordered just 13 segs of the show, Bochco wasn’t keen on that idea.
“Then on Friday at 5, I get a call saying he wants out,” Bochco said. “I had no inkling. … It utterly came out of the blue.”
Bochco said he’s “disappointed” by Barclay’s decision, particularly since the producer didn’t personally notify him.
“He didn’t call me. We were simply notified that he wanted out,” said Bochco. “It’s not the best way to do business with someone you’ve been in business with for five years.”
Barclay said he thought it would be more “professional” if Bochco heard it from Barclay’s agent.
“Steven and I have talked many times about my feelings about the show,” Barclay told Daily Variety. “I don’t think it was an enormous surprise. It’s the way he does things. I learned from him.”
Barclay said he’s logged numerous calls to Bochco since then, but they’ve gone unanswered.
“I would love to speak to him,” he said.
As for why he chose to leave the show, Barclay said he “didn’t see eye to eye” with Bochco over the future of “Angels.”
“We’ve had creative differences over how ‘City of Angels’ should develop and my role in the process,” Barclay said. “We just didn’t see the same show.”
Despite the major difference of opinion that led to Barclay’s departure, the producer nonetheless characterized his departure as “amicable from my perspective.”
“I really enjoyed working for Bochco,” Barclay said. “I’ve been there for three years. We’ve done great work, especially with ‘NYPD Blue.’ For me, the experience was terrific.”
Barclay even said he’d like to work with Bochco again. But the clash over the future of “Angels” may have left a sour taste in Barclay’s mouth.
“There’s a great deal of pain in leaving (the cast and crew of ‘Angels’),” Barclay said. “It’s depressing.”
Bochco also tried to sound an upbeat note. “I wish everybody well, whatever disappointments there are,” he said.
As for Hooks, the helmer began his career as a thesp, most notably as a series regular on “The White Shadow” from 1978 to ’81. He began his TV directing career in 1982 on a seg of hospital drama “St. Elsewhere.”
Bochco and Hooks worked together on the former’s “Doogie Howser,” with Hooks directing several segs of the laffer.
Hooks’ other TV helming credits include “I’ll Fly Away,” “Profiler” and “The Hoop Life.” In addition to “Passenger 57,” Hooks’ feature credits include “Fled” and “Strictly Business.”
Hooks is repped by UTA and manager Alan Greenspan.