Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Producer Cy Chermak Brings Attention this Month to 50th Anniversary of First TV Series About a Handicapped Hero in New Book

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ Fifty years ago, on September 14, 1967, NBC-TV premiered Ironside, a new kind of cop show in which the protagonist was disabled a police detective struck by a would-be assassin's bullet, paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair. For seven seasons, Robert Ironside, portrayed by Raymond Burr, became a role model for the disabled, demonstrating how even those paralyzed can stand taller than most.

Emmy-nominatedproducer Cy Chermak has now written a book about producing Ironside as well as other iconic TV series. With The Show Runner: An Insider's Guide to Successful TV Production, published by Jacobs/Brown Press, Chermak reveals the behind-the-scenes world of a "show runner," with valuable lessons for anyone interested in a career in television, as a writer, script editor, and producer, as well as the curious.

Of TV's first handicapped series' lead, Chermak says, "I simply made him emotionally the least disabled person ever. Even when he underwent an unsuccessful surgery intended to get him on his feet, his response to a question about the lack of success was, 'We go on. As before.' He was strong, he was controlled, he was brave."

Another series produced by Chermak, having premiered September 15, 1977, and celebrating its 40 th anniversary this month, isCHiPs, which was recently revised as a major motion picture. Chermak recalls, "CHiPswas made at a time when police relations with the public were very low. Cops were referred to as 'pigs.'CHiPschanged all that. Kids would see a cop and call out, 'Hi Ponch, Hi Jon!'"

While the dual protagonists ofCHiPs Ponch, as played by Eric Estrada, and Jon, played by Larry Wilcox were clearly not disabled, they nonetheless were handicapped by the public's perception of Highway Patrol Officers. Chermak says, "On CHiPs, we delved into the private lives of Highway Patrol persons. People at the networks and the press always asked me how I was going to sustain a show about cops who gave out tickets. I had to explain we were not doing a show about giving out tickets; we were doing a show about THE COPS who gave out the tickets."

This September, asCHiPs andIronside celebrate anniversaries, Cy Chermak reminds us in his new book that the true success and lasting impression of a TV series is often tied to one key element: Those making the series must believe the program has something worthwhile to say.

Other popular series produced by Mr. Chermak include The Virginian, The Bold Ones, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Additional information is available on the Jacobs/Brown Media Group website at

To schedule an interview with Cy Chermak, or request a review copy of The Show Runner, email

Media Contact:
Sondra Burrows

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Books Stories

More Hot Stories For You