NBC’s Hill Street Blues pilot episode that aired on Thursday, January 15, 1981.
Hill Street Blues was a serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. It received high critical acclaim and its innovations proved highly influential on serious dramatic television series produced in North America. Its debut season was honored with eight Emmy awards, a debut season record surpassed only by The West Wing, and the show received a total of 98 Emmy Award nominations during its run.
Many background exterior shots were filmed in Chicago — including the station house, which is the old Maxwell Street police station on Chicago’s West Side at 943 West Maxwell Street [MAP/SAT], and the current home of the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department. The show’s police cruisers are painted and marked almost exactly like Chicago police cars, the main difference being the red door lettering reading “METRO POLICE” rather than “CHICAGO POLICE” on the real thing. In addition, the opening credits clearly show a squad car with an Illinois “M” plate, which are used for municipal police cars. The series frequently used establishing shots, under the credits at the beginning of the first act, showing an Interstate 80 sign or commuter trains entering and leaving the old Chicago and North Western Railway Chicago terminal: the C&NW yellow and green livery was clearly evident.
This Hill Street Blues pilot is a beta demonstration from Hulu — an upcoming online video on demand service that is also expected to offer video sharing. The service is a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. Providence Equity Partners has also made a USD$100 million equity investment and holds a 10% stake in the company. The partnership was announced in March 2007 and the name “Hulu” was chosen in late August, when the website went live. The service is expected to offer full-length episodes of NBC and FOX television programs, selected movies while also accepting user-submitted videos in direct competition with YouTube.