‘Hill Street Blues’ Creator Steven Bochco Dead at 74

Steven Bochco, the creator of iconic, groundbreaking TV series including Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, M.D. and NYPD Blue died Sunday of leukemia. He was 74.

Bochco’s shows were known for setting a high bar in terms of quality, gritty realism and storytelling that went beyond single episodes. He also broke ground in terms of language and nudity on network TV. They also drew 10 Emmy Awards and four Peabody awards.

“Today, our industry lost a visionary, a creative force, a risk taker, a witty, urbane story teller with an uncanny ability to know what the world wanted. We were long-term colleagues, and longer term friends, and I am deeply saddened,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger on Twitter.

Iger was president of ABC when NYPD Blue aired and was involved in deciding what characters on the show could show and say on TV.

Originally from New York City, Bochco worked for Universal Pictures early on as a story editor on shows including Ironside, Columbo and McMillan & Wife.

He moved to MTM Enterprises and achieved his first big success with NBC and Hill Street, which aired from 1981 to 1987.

He co-created L.A. Law at 20 Century Fox. The show aired on NBC from 1986 to 1994.

Other Bochco broadcast network shows included Murder One, Hooperman, Cop Rock and Capitol Critters.

Many Hollwood figures saluted Bochco for shaping their careers.

“Absolutely one of the biggest influences on Buffy (and me) was Hill STREET BLUES. Complex, unpredictable and unfailingly humane. Steven Bochco changed television, more than once. He’s a legend. All love to his family, R.I.P., and thank you, #LetsBeSafeOutThere,” said Joss Weedon.

Actor and director Ken Olin tweeted: “I was 28, married, & the father of a baby boy when the creator of ‘Hill St. Blues’ came to NYC to cast a show about minor league baseball. Steven Bochco gave me my first break on ‘Bay City Blues’ and brought me to Hollywood. I’m eternally grateful to him for my career. RIP boss.”

“I will be forever grateful to Steven Bochco for the key to the lock that opened the door to a career. At the same time he taught me more about our humanity; our faults and strengths, how they survive side by side, despite our human insistence on seeing them as opposing forces,” said actor Corben Bernsen.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.