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FROM THIS EPISODE

With his groundbreaking series Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue, writer-producer Steven Bochco consistently pushed the limits of what could be said and done on broadcast television. Along the way, he dealt with more than a few headaches -- from disruptive actors to litigious executives to heads broadcast standards departments. He isn't afraid to tell those tales in his new memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense. Bochco recounts battles big and small, including a legal brawl with Rupert Murdoch and the firing of an actor with very particular bathroom habits. 

Photo: Television writer-producer Steven Bochco on the cover of his memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense

Hollywood news banter 6 MIN, 41 SEC

Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

Guests:
Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Steven Bochco: Truth Is a Total Defense 20 MIN, 50 SEC

Early episodes of the gritty, groundbreaking series Hill Street Blues opened with Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, played by Michael Conrad, holding a morning briefing for a bunch of rowdy Hill Street cops. He'd end his roll call with the signature line, "Let's be careful out there."

Unlike the procedurals of the time, Hill Street Blues featured a huge cast with interlocking story lines that unfolded over multiple episodes.

While not an instant ratings hit, Hill Street Blues helped reverse the fortunes of NBC, then in last place among the major networks, and became part of its formidable Thursday-night must-see-TV line-up. In its first year, the series received an historic 21 Emmy nominations and won eight. Our guest today, Hill Street Blues co-creator Steven Bochco, picked up two of those, for outstanding drama and outstanding writing for the 1981 pilot episode.

Following his time on Hill Street, Bochco produced dozens of shows, including LA Law, Doogie Howser MD, and NYPD Blue, which was a signature hit for ABC and ended up breaking the Emmy record set by Hill Street.

Bochco recounts his decades in television in a new memoir called Truth is a Total Defense. We recently sat down with him in his office in Santa Monica and talked about battles with actors, dealing with a writing partner addicted to gambling, fighting broadcast standards departments, why his deal with Les Moonves didn't work out, and the possibility of an LA Law reboot.

Guests:
Steven Bochco, Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer

CREDITS

Host:
Kim Masters

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

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