Actress Barbara Bosson, who plays Faye Furillo on "Hill Street Blues," says that she will not be a regular on the NBC police series this season following a dispute with the producers about her salary and role.
Bosson said that the production company, MTM Enterprises, has agreed to let her out of her contract, which she claims was broken when she did not receive a salary hike equal to certain other cast members.
The show's new executive and co-executive producers, the actress added, wanted her character to "go back to something I thought was over"--being a thorn in the side of her ex-husband, Capt. Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti).
Executive producer Jeffrey Lewis' office referred calls on the matter Friday to MTM's publicity office, which declined to comment.
Bosson had already filmed the first three episodes of the award-winning police drama's sixth season, which begins Sept. 26. Her character is not included in the fourth or fifth, which were written before the contract dispute began, she said.
But Bosson expressed hope of returning on an occasional basis, which she said Lewis has asked her to do. However, she no longer will appear during the opening credits, as she has since the series began in 1981.
In real life, Bosson is married to Steven Bochco, who co-created the show and was its executive producer through last season, when MTM asked him to leave. There was some question since Bochco's departure if Bosson would stay on.
"If Faye Furillo was going to be this year the way she was last year, I don't think I would have asked to have been let out," Bosson said, referring to her character's development over the years from a nagging wife to a victim's advocate.
Bosson, who has received five Emmy nominations, acknowledged that she originally landed the role because of her relationship with Bochco--who cast longtime and relatively unknown actor-friends in many of the key roles. But she added, "It hurts me to believe that maybe everything that was good was because of Steven."
Though there have been rumors of other contractual disputes in the "Hill Street" ranks, sources say that no other actors are leaving at this time.
A recent dispute related to "Hill Street" involved Bruce Weitz's appearance on a Burger King commercial as a character that appears similar to Mick Belker, his character on the show. According to Weitz, MTM "tried to get the networks to remove the commercial from the air." Burger King's ad agency, J. Walter Thompson, "went to court to get an injunction to prevent MTM from doing that and succeeded," Weitz said.
The actor added that the commercial will end soon anyway, as it was "contracted for only eight weeks."