Thirty years ago, Deadwood creator David Milch began his TV writing career working under Steven Bochco on Hill Street Blues, a landmark series that kicked off a revolution in quality TV and began NBC’s transformation from also-ran to powerhouse. Now, with the Peacock stuck in an even more profound slump, the network is once again turning to Milch and Bochco. A rep for 20th Century Fox TV confirms that the duo have sold an untitled one-hour legal drama to NBC about “an extraordinarily talented and successful lawyer” named Ted Tapman, who’s “driven and bound by a dark secret. Set inside D.C.’s hottest law firm, which boasts a perfect record of billion-dollar settlements, this is a series about how we negotiate with our demons and the price we pay for those alliances.”
Bochco and Milch, who went on to work together again on ABC’s smash hit NYPD Blue, were brought together by producer Brian Grazer of 20th-based Imagine Television. After hearing the pitch for the project, new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt jumped on the idea, ordering a script with a mid-six-figure penalty attached if for some reason the network doesn’t decide to produce a pilot. Milch had to get special permission from HBO to work on the NBC project, since he’s already got a day job: running HBO’s upcoming Dustin Hoffman drama Luck. Meanwhile, Thursday was a big day for fans of nineties superstar producers: Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, best known for thirtysomething and My So-Called Life, sold a soap opera-ish drama to Fox based on the book Confessions of a Contractor. Tom Spezialy (Desperate Housewives) is writing.