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Steven Bochco Lays Down the Law : GIVE HIM THE JOB

August 23, 1992

"I f I Ran a Network . . . ," last Sunday's commentary by television producer Steven Bochco ("Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law") has prompted a heavy response from readers. A sampling:

I do not generally respond to editorials or articles although I am often tempted to do so. But with regard to Bochco, I have to respond with an emphatic yes.

As a somewhat well-educated, turned-off viewer, I believe that Bochco is absolutely correct in his diagnosis concerning what is wrong with network TV and very likely correct in his prescription to remedy these problems.

Yes, I would truly appreciate the presentation of television series that actually run a genuine, real-time season in length instead of half of one stretched out with reruns and specials. Yes, I would truly appreciate some risk taking to keep good shows on the air and less reliance on ratings.

Yes, I would like to see more television that engages my mind for longer than 30 minutes (no more sitcoms, please). And yes, when network TV ventures into the realms of the controversial and innovative, not just hype, it is good. It is sweet. It is what TV should be.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your view of things) the kind of TV he describes is not new and does exist. It is called PBS. That traditional source is where most artistic experimentation is taking place despite the claims of cable.

And when one turns to the tastier delicacies that PBS serves up, one begins to wonder: "What do they know in England and elsewhere that the networks have not yet caught on to doing?"



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