Steven Bochco, who created two long-term NBC scripted dramas, “Hill Street Blues” and “LA Law,” and “NYPD Blue” on ABC, has died this weekend. While there were no specific details available on his passing, Bochco had been battling leukemia for several years.
Born December 16, 1943 in New York City, Bochco got his start at Universal Television as a writer and then story editor on dramas including “Ironside,” “Columbo” and “McMillan & Wife.” He left Universal in 1978 to go to MTM Enterprises where his first effort as a producer was the short-lived CBS police drama “Paris,” starring James Earl Jones.
Bochco’s first big hit at MTM was procedural ensemble “Hill Street Blues,” which aired on NBC from 1981 to 1987 and garnered 98 Emmy award nominations. But he ultimately exited MTM after the failure of baseball-themed ensemble “Bay City Blues” on NBC in 1983.
Bochco moved to 20th Century Fox, where he co-created and produced legal ensemble “L.A. Law.” It aired for eight seasons and was his first big ratings success. Subsequent series, all on ABC, included “Hooperman” with John Ritter, “Doogie Howser, M.D.” with Neil Patrick Harris, and critically-panned and short-lived “Cop Rock,” which was an odd combination of crime and music. In 1992, he created also short-lived animated “Animal Critters” for ABC.
Following a number of quiet years, Bochco’s biggest success, “NYPD Blue,” arrived on ABC in 1993 and aired for 12 seasons. Other dramas from Bochco in this period that failed to take off include “Murder One” (1995-97), “Brooklyn South” (1997), “City of Angels” (2000), “Philly” (2001) and “Over There (“2005). In 2005, Bochco took charge of ABC political drama “Commander in Chief,” which was created by Rod Lurie, but he left the one season show after conflicting with ABC.
In 2007, Bochco launched the Internet series “Cafe Confidential,” with each episode lasting about 60 seconds. And his legal drama “Murder in the First,” aired on TNT from 2014 to 2016.
Bochco’s survivors include his wife of 17 years, Dayna; children Jesse, Jeffrey and Melissa; and sister Joanna Frank, who played Sheila Brackman, the wife of Douglas Brackman Jr. (her real-life husband Alan Rachins), on “L.A. Law.” His first wife was actress Barbara Bosson, who also appeared on “L.A. Law.”