Iconic TV producer Steven Bochco died yesterday morning at home, surrounded by family, according to his personal assistant. He was 74.
“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” spokesman Phillip Arnold said. “He died peacefully in his sleep [at home] with his family close by.”
Famous for dramas like Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, Steven won a total of 10 Emmy Awards during his five decades of envelope-pushing work. His shows were celebrated for their gritty realism, sprawling ensemble casts, and storylines that stretch out over multiple episodes.
In an interview with Pamela Douglas for the 2007 book Writing the TV Drama Series: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV, he explained how he pulled it all together:
“When you end up creating a show with seven, eight, nine characters — ask yourself, how can you appropriately dramatize that many characters within the framework of an hour television show? And the answer is that you can’t. So you say, OK, what we have to do is spill over the sides of our form and start telling multi-plot, more serial kinds of stories.
“Even though any given character may not have but three scenes in an hour, those three scenes are part of a 15-scene storyline that runs over numerous episodes. So that was simply a matter of trying to react to the initial things we did. The show began to dictate what it needed to be. Probably the smartest thing Michael and I did was to let it take us there instead of trying to hack away to get back into the box. We just let it spill over.”
Below, a 1995 interview we did him for Shock Video 2: Crime & Punishment in which he discusses LA Law.
Read more about him in THR