NYPD Blue producer dies at age 74

Posted April 03, 2018

The recipient of virtually every imaginable industry award over his prestigious career, Bochco was nominated for an Emmy 30 times in his capacities as producer and writer, winning 10. He received the Producers Guild of America's David Susskind lifetime achievement award in 1999.

Bochco will be remembered as an unparalleled influence on the police drama genre, having taken a groundbreaking approach to storytelling by adding a gritty layer of reality to each series he helped bring to life. He battled studio executives and censors.

The success of these network shows in the early 1980s paved the way for the creation of the so-called Golden Age of Television a decade later, when premium cable programmes such as The Sopranos broke the mould.

A New York City native, Steven Ronald Bochco was born December 16, 1943, to a violinist father and a painter-jewelry designer mother.

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Bochco grew up in Manhattan, the son of a painter and a concert violinist. After college he drove across country to Hollywood with Michael Tucker, who would later feature on L.A. Law. He worked on Columbo for several seasons, starting with the 1971 90-minute episode "Murder by the Book", directed by Steven Spielberg.

After Hill Street Blues, he was offered the job of entertainment president on CBS, but turned it down for the chance of producing 10 different shows throughout six years at ABC.

Beyond his own career, Bochco helped shepherd along those of several other prominent writers, hiring David Milch on "Hill Street" and enlisting David E. Kelley - then a Boston lawyer - to work on "L.A. Law".

Bochco continued working on more cop shows and legal dramas into his 70s, including Brooklyn South, City of Angles, Civil Wars, and Raising the Bar, as well as FX's short-lived Iraq War drama Over There. His ABC series Murder One focused on one complicated investigation over a 23-episode season, freeing shows like The Killing and True Detective to delve deeper into investigations. Over the course of 20 years, Bochco would create the template for the modern hour-long series that featured large ensemble casts, serialized storylines, and boundary-pushing content.

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Bochco wrote the 2003 novel, Death By Hollywood.

Bochco had been suffering with cancer for some time.

Premiering in January 1981, Hill Street Blues challenged, even confounded the meagre audience that sampled it.

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