Former child star Rick Schroder is the first to admit that many people expected him to fail when he made his grown-up debut as Detective Danny Sorenson on ABC's NYPD Blue almost two years ago. But the artist-formerly-known-as-Ricky says he never got discouraged.

"When I didn't fail, people were a bit, 'Hey, wow,'" says the 30-year-old Silver Spoons star, who's long since won over the critics. "I don't know why it worked out so well. I never had any doubts, though. I know a lot of people did, but I didn't."

Schroder tells TV Guide Online that he knew right away he was the perfect choice to play the former narcotics detective on Blue. "You know when a role is yours," he says. "You know when you're right for [it]. You just feel it. You feel it in the pit of your stomach. You want it so bad."

The veteran actor began appearing in TV commercials when he was still just a toddler and skyrocketed to stardom playing opposite Jon Voight in the 1979 tearjerker The Champ. "I love what I do," he says. "There was never any other option for me. It was succeed or bust." Silver Spoons brought "the Ricker" yet more fame in the '80s, but he never sought out sitcom stardom. "I was too young," he insists. "That was brought to me. I wasn't in charge of my career at all. I was just a boy — 12 years old. I just showed up. I went when they told me." Still, he admits that he's been blessed his whole life. "A lot of things have worked out for me."

A devoted husband and father of three, Schroder is grateful that his NYPD Blue schedule allows him to spend time with his family. "We have 12-hour days usually," he explains. "It's an ensemble show, so, I get time off, which is nice. Sometimes I don't have to go to work until 1 pm and I'll work until 8 pm. My wife and I steal away to a movie or I go do something with the kids."