Vital Sign

Topics: Robert Urich, Spenser: For Hire, NBC Pages: 4 (1062 words) Published: February 16, 2014
After Cancer Therapy, Urich Is Busy Again His ``vital Signs'' Show Debuts Tonight. Ads by Google

By Robert Strauss, FOR THE INQUIRER
POSTED: February 27, 1997
Robert Urich says on the phone he's feeling a little queasy, but you can hardly blame the guy. It's 2 p.m. in L.A., and he's just finished a two-day course of chemotherapy - what he hopes is his last for the soft-tissue cancer called synovial sarcoma that the actor has been dealing with since last summer.

``They pulled the plug out of my chest at noon, and Cedars Sinai is in my rear-view mirror now,'' says Urich, 49, breaking into a bit of an uncomfortable laugh. ``I guess it's rather unusual to choose a medical show to launch my reappearance on the scene.''

That medical show is Vital Signs (9 tonight on Channel 6), and it is the latest attempt to gather some ratings for ABC in the near-death slot opposite Seinfeld. While not by any means knocking off that top-rated sitcom, the other networks have at least established a niche beachhead: Fox, with black audiences for New York Undercover, and CBS, with older viewers for Moloney.

(It may be that ABC is hoping to attract the ER-deprived. Those viewers who usually tune in an hour later to ER on NBC could turn to Vital Signs, a reality-based show about doctors and their patients in life-or-death cases, while ER is on hiatus for six weeks.) ``It does feel like it is produced from news, but make no mistake, we are trying to do dramatic stories,'' Urich says.

Each week - six weeks' worth of shows have been ordered by ABC - Vital Signs will present four stories. There will be interviews with the doctors and other medical personnel and, when possible, with the patients and their families. In between, actors will re-create the operations, with no dialogue, but with Urich's narration behind them. The re-creations will be on film, the interviews on video.

One of the first segments will be about Eileen Krowicki, the Lindenwold woman who underwent a...
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