Bill O’Keefe and Douglas Hawke (Shooting Stars)

Created by Michael Fisher and Vernon Zimmerman

”This is not a television show– this is reality.”
— O’Keefe explains to Hawke

More lameness from the House of Spelling.

In Shooting Stars, a 1983 TV flick, BILL O’KEEFE (Parker Stevenson) and DOUGLAS HAWKE (Billy Dee Williams) are actors (and co-owners of a failing restaurant) who get canned from their roles as police detectives in a successful TV series, when the star of the show (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), who plays their sergeant, decides their parts are getting too big.

No, not those parts.

But not content with them simply getting them fired, he starts a smear campaign, spreading allegations of drug abuse, ensuring neither of them will ever work in Hollywood again.

So, unemployed and running out of dough, the two decide to try to make a go of it as real-life private eyes–a job, of course, they’re uniquely unqualified and unprepared for. At one point, they even resort to using a prop gun, because they didn’t count on the legally required waiting period for getting a gun.

Oh, the hilarity. Talk about a laugh riot. And just to make sure there’s something for everyone, Parker Stevenson is beaten up, cars are chased, things explode, choppers tear through the air and healthy young women in bikinis abound.


The notion of an actor faking it until they’re making it as real-life private eyes isn’t exactly original (see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Two of Diamonds, etc.), but rarely has it accomplished with such little flair.

The film was supposed to act as a pilot for a proposed TV series, and aired as a stand-alone TV movie on ABC on .[2]It’s even mentioned in Craig Nelson’s Bad TV: The Very Best of the Very Worst.

Too bad. Nice guys Stevenson (who actually had previously played a detective on a successful TV show) and Williams (Star Wars!) deserved better.


  • ““They broke my car, and they broke my friend’s face … I’m going to get ‘em.”
    — Hawke swears revenge!
  • “Get out of the detective business!”
    — the boys receive a threat from the bad guys


(1983, ABC)
Premiere: July 28, 1983
Story by Michael Fisher and Vernon Zimmerman
Screenplay by Michael Fisher
Directed by Richard Lang
Supervising producer: E. Duke Vincent
Associate producer: Claudia Myhers Tschudin
Executive producers: Douglas S. Cramer, Aaron Spelling
Production company: Aaron Spelling Productions
Starring Parker Stevenson as BILL O’KEEFE
and Billy Dee Williams as DOUGLAS HAWKE
Also starring John P. Ryan, Edie Adams, Fred Travalena, Richard Bakalyan, Tori Spelling, Frank McRae, Robert Webber, Kathleen Lloyd, Denny Miller, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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