Steven Bochco (born December 16, 1943) is an American television producer and writer. He has been involved in a number of popular hits including Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. He was born in New York City into a Jewish family. His parents were both artistic, his mother a painter, his father a violinist. He was educated in Manhattan at the High School of Music and Art, leaving in 1961 he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh to study playwriting and theater. He graduated with a BFA in Theater in 1966 having also had an MCA Writing Fellowship.
He went to work for Universal Studios. He worked as a writer and then story editor, he did work for Ironside (TV series), Columbo, McMillan and Wife and also the flops Griff, Delvecchio and The Invisible Man. He also did movie work, writing the screenplay for the 1968 TV movie The Counterfeit Killer, he also worked on Silent Running (1972) and Double Indemnity (1973). He left Universal in 1978 to go to MTM Enterprises where he had greater scope for producing work.
He achieved major success for NBC with the police drama Hill Street Blues. It ran from 1981 to 1987 and Bochco was credited as co-creator and also wrote and produced. Despite critical acclaim and awards the series was never very lucrative. Bochco was fired from MTM in 1985 following the failure of his (1983) Bay City Blues baseball project.
Bochco moved to Twentieth Century Fox where he went on to develop, as creator and executive producer, L.A. Law (1986-1994) which was first aired on NBC. In 1987 Bochco created the half-hour dramedy Hooperman which starred John Ritter and lasted two seasons before being cancelled, despite Bochco offering to take over direct day-to-day control of a third season.
He was given a lucrative deal with ABC in 1987 to create and executive-produce ten new TV series, forming his own company 'Steven Bochco Productions' at the same time. From this deal came Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993) and the 1990 musical flop Cop Rock, which notoriously combined straight police drama with live-action Broadway-style singing and dancing. It was one of his highest-profile failures.
After a lull he came back with another hit, the controversial, by network standards, NYPD Blue (1993-2005) with David Milch. He created the show with the express intent of changing the nature of the network one-hour drama in order to compete with the more adult fare being broadcast on cable networks. Other less successful projects during this time include Murder One (1995-1997); Brooklyn South (1997); City of Angels (2000); and Philly (2001) all of which failed to make any long-term impact on viewers.
As of 2005 Bochco has taken charge of Commander in Chief (television) (2005-) which was the creation of Rod Lurie, and immediately brought in a new writing team.
His impact on the nature of primetime network television drama is considerable: prior to Hill Street Blues it was very rare for straight drama shows to have multiple storylines running over many episodes (with the exception of primetime soaps such as Dallas). It was also rare to have a large regular cast. The basic structure of the modern 'ensemble' television drama can be traced largely back to Bochco, who many regard as having fundamentally changed the 'language' of television drama.
He married actress Barbara Bosson (born 1939) in 1969. They divorced in 1998. He is currently married to Dayna Kalins (m. August 12, 2000).