Almost 2 decades after they created ABC’s groundbreaking cop drama NYPD Blue, Steven Bochco and David Milch have reunited to create a new drama series, this time for NBC. The network has given a script commitment with significant penalty to an untitled legal drama from Bochco, Milch, Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV. The project is set inside DC’s hottest law firm, Tapman Rose, which boasts a perfect record of billion-dollar settlements. It centers on Ted Tapman, a charismatic “rainmaker” lawyer with a dark secret. Bochco and Milch co-created the project and will write the story together. Milch will write the teleplay. Bochco, Milch and Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo are executive producing. The new project won’t interfere with Milch’s duties on the upcoming HBO drama Luck, the writer’s collaboration with Michael Mann. I hear that Milch is slated to return to the horse-racing drama starring Dustin Hoffman after the pilot for the NBC show, with Bochco set to run the potential series.
The impetus for the new project came from a call Grazer made to Bochco, whom he had known for a long time. Grazer invited the veteran writer-producer to come over for a meeting and asked him whether he could bring his former collaborator Milch with him. This marks a homecoming for Emmy winners Bochco and Milch who first worked together on the NBC drama Hill Street Blues, which Bochco co-created. Bochco subsequently co-created another hit series for NBC, legal drama L.A. Law, on which Milch wrote one episode. L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues as well as NYPD Blue were produced by 20th TV. The new project is Bochco’s first with 20th TV since NYPD, which became the subject of a 1999 lawsuit by Bochco against the studio over the series’ off-network sale to sibling FX. The case was settled in 2001. This is one of 2 legal dramas Bochco has in the works at the broadcast networks this season. Last month, ABC bought Legal Affairs, which Bochco will co-write with Jonathan Abrahams.