Late last month, I met up with Harold “House” Moore at the Midtown W Hotel, where he wore a Yankees cap, which is apropos. The actor and former Atlantan is part of an ensemble cop drama on CBS “NYC 22,” which debuts Sunday at 10 p.m. as a spring entry.
Sure, it’s yet another cop show on CBS, this one focusing on rookies in Harlem. But it has pedigree: Richard Price, who wrote for HBO’s “The Wire.” Robert DeNiro is a producer.
Moore plays a former NBA player Jayson “Jackpot” Toney, who flamed out and is seeking redemption of sorts on his hometown streets of New York City as a new cop. But starting with the first episode, he can’t forget his past as former friends give him a hard time and even strangers harp on his squandered career.
In real life, the Detroit native wanted to go into the NBA. Instead, after college at Alabama State a decade ago, Moore moved to Atlanta and worked as a behavioral therapist for inner-city youth, making about $30,000 a year.
But he was tabbed by Elite Model Management for modeling work and began making good money, mostly doing commercial work. (He recalls doing an early job for the AJC wearing nautical briefs.) Moore popped up in some music videos, including being Whitney Houston’s masseuse ($2,500 for a two-day shoot.)
He also had a cameo in a 2002 video with TLC after Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes passed called “Girl Talk.” In 2003, he nabbed some airtime on a reality program, “Date Plate” on Food Network, where a woman would pick a date based on the food she was cooked (before she even gets to see the men.). He said he cooked a fancier meal, tomato Tuscan soup with beef sirloin. She picked the guy who did fried chicken.
In 2004, he came in fifth on NBC’s “Next Action Star,” a short-lived series where he picked up the desire to be in films. That experience compelled him to move to Los Angeles, where he did a lot of commercials, both print and TV.
“I never had to work another job while acting,” he said, with pride. In recent years, he’s come back to Atlanta to do episodes of TBS’s “House of Payne,” USA’s “Necessary Roughness” and upcoming couple of episodes of the second season of VH1’s “Single Ladies,’ which is why he was in Atlanta. He also almost got the role as T-Dog on “The Walking Dead” but had a conflict.
Reviews for the show have been mixed. Alan Sepinwall of Hitflix called it an “incredibly generic, cliché-ridden series.” The New York Times noted: “The scripts are efficient. The acting is decent. But you’re likely to find yourself just waiting for the familiar crises and character complications to come along, and sure enough, they do.” The Los Angeles Times praised the use of Harlem as a setting: “It’s a good and welcome setting, a changing scene and mixed economy that allows for a range of stories and themes, with humans of different stripes living in close quarters. It’s a part of the city rarely seen on television, and one in which, for a change, white people do not dominate the frame… It’s not a great show, but it’s not an uninteresting one.”
“NYC 22,” 10 p.m. CBS, Sundays
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk