The unwavering TV giant, winner of 10 Emmys, has passed away, writes Michael Barnes:
Steven Bochco, the strong-willed writer and producer who brought gritty realism and sprawling ensemble casts to the small screen with such iconic series as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, died Sunday morning at the age of 74.
Bochco, who had leukemia, received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014.
“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.” Read more.
Hollywood pays tribute: “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,” Bob Iger tweeted.
“All of us who grew up watching great TV and have benefited from the ground he broke owe pioneer Steven Bochco a debt of gratitude,” wrote Beau Willimon.
“An exceptional human being,” said Goldie Hawn. “A great friend, father and partner.” More tributes | Bochco in his own words.
The reviews are in…
NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live: “Pulsing with kinetic energy right from the overture, the show was a thrilling hybrid of Broadway and arena spectacle, taking the material back to its roots, and you could feel the excitement in the live audience even at home,” writes David Rooney. THR‘s review.
The buzz: “Electrifying.” — AV Club. “Absolutely incredible.” — Daily Beast. “A glorious glitter bomb.” — EW.
Ratings: Per early ratings, the biblical belt-fest put out a solid showing for the night, tying CBS’ 60 Minutes among households and topping ABC’s American Idol. It averaged a 6.0 overnight rating among Nielsen’s metered market households, putting it in an advantageous position for total audience.
Compared to NBC’s last live production, Hairspray in December 2016, the show was essentially flat… Full story.
Elsewhere in TV…
► John Oliver on Sinclair: “Brainwashed cult.” The Last Week Tonight host once again aimed fire at Sinclair Broadcast Group last night after a Deadspin video — showing dozens of Sinclair newsrooms around the country parroting to-camera the same Orwellian anti-media message — went viral. Watch.
+ Other critics: “Terrifying,” Joss Whedon wrote of Deadspin‘s Sinclair video. David Simon didn’t mince words either, comparing viewers of Sinclair stations to “rubes” and station employees to “whores.” Read more.
► Stephen Glover says a proposed Taylor Swift episode was the “last straw” for the Deadpool series. “There really was a Taylor Swift episode. It was HILARIOUS. And it definitely was the last straw lol,” Glover wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. “Our show wasn’t too black. It wasn’t really that black at all. But we definitely wanted to give ‘Rick and Morty’ a run for their money and I think we would have. Proud of the gang.”
► Media executives are fretting about Brexit impact. That’s according to a new survey that finds that “Many media companies in the U.K. and elsewhere think a hard Brexit may cause significant immediate damage,” including the possible end of “an era for binge-watching.” Full story.
► The Counterpart finale: a deep dive with creator Justin Marks. Plus, intel on the show’s future: “The second season is the Cold War after the Berlin Wall has been formed and how people start to draw battle lines….” Read more | J.K. Simmons interview.