“Matt Houston”, which ran for three seasons from 1982-1986, gets unfairly labelled as a “Magnum PI” knock-off, primarily because it A) featured a moustachioed PI with a penchant for fast cars, faster women and wisecracks, and B) because it aired two years after Magnum was on the air.
It is true, Lee Horsley, who played Houston, had a very similar self-deprecating, light comic style to Tom Selleck, and both shows had very similar stories, although Matt Houston missed the sheer iconic scenery of Hawaii, being set mostly in bland Los Angeles.
But there were differences. Houston, despite having inherited millions, was a shrewd businessman who only really acted as a private investigator for the laugh.
Secondly, and more importantly, Houston had the stunning Pamela Hensley (who had left many a teenaged boy, including this one, speechless, as saucy, evil and shockingly underdressed space dominatrix Princess Ardala in “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” only two years previously) as his sidekick, CJ Parsons. Sure, Higgins was a great guy. But he was no CJ Parsons. Matt Houston, like Thomas Magnum, was what men thought they looked like with a moustache in the mid 1980s.
Like Magum PI, Matt Houston also had a catchy them tune and opening credits.