David Milch

Writer / Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, David Milch discusses his early life and influences, and how he came to write for Hill Street Blues. He talks about his stint as a writer for Hill Street Blues under Steven Bochco and his unconventional personal life at the time. He describes co-creating NYPD Blue  with Bochco, and helping to create the tone, feel, and language of the show. Milch recounts some of the tumultuous times on the show with David Caruso, talks of Caruso's replacement, Jimmy Smits, and explains his own eventual exit from the show. He outlines the creation of the classic HBO series Deadwood and what he was trying to accomplish with that show though symbolism and language, and talks about the show's lead character "Al Swearengen," played by Ian McShane. He recalls his less successful HBO ventures John from Cincinnati  and Luck, and talks of personal difficulties that resulted from the two series. Finally he talks about his unconventional writing process, and offers advice to aspiring television writers. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on December 27, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. 

"What became known as 'Milchspeak' is just metrics. When you use profanity if the metrics aren't right it sounds stupid. You find most people in the street speak 'MilchSpeak.' Or I should be more humble and say that my characters speak like people in the street."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
David Milch on co-creating NYPD Blue  with Steven Bochco
David Milch on his dialogue, also known as "MilchSpeak" and the language of NYPD Blue
David Milch on dealing with the network on NYPD Blue
David Milch on favorite episodes of Hill Street Blues that he wrote
David Milch on creating Deadwood
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on meeting Kurt Vonnegut; on how he came to write for Hill Street Blues
On writing his first television script; on the process of writing Hill Street Blues; on producing the short-lived series Capital News
On working with Steven Bochco on Hill Street Blues; on favorite episodes of Hill Street Blues; on producing Beverly Hills Buntz
On co-creating NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco; on the look of NYPD Blue; on network battles over the show

Chapter 2

On David Caruso as "John Kelly" on NYPD Blue; on the writing process for NYPD Blue; on the dialogue of the show
On Jimmy Smits as "Bobby Simone" on NYPD Blue; on the production of NYPD Blue; on the end of the show and its legacy
On co-creating Murder One; on writing Brooklyn South and The Big Apple; on creating and writing Deadwood
On Ian McShane as "Al Swearengen" on Deadwood; on critical and public reaction to Deadwood; on the writing process and budget of the show

Chapter 3

On his favorite Deadwood storylines; on the end of Deadwood and the legacy of the show; on creating John from Cincinnati 
On the series Luck; on career highlights and regrets; on advice to aspiring writers and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Beverly Hills Buntz

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David Milch on producing Beverly Hills Buntz

Big Apple

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David Milch on writing the series Big Apple

Brooklyn South

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David Milch on writing Brooklyn South

Deadwood

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David Milch on creating Deadwood
David Milch on the premise of Deadwood
David Milch on the process of writing Deadwood
David Milch on Ian McShane as "Al Swearengen" on Deadwood
David Milch on symbolism on Deadwood
David Milch on the language of Deadwood
David Milch on critical and public reaction to Deadwood
David Milch on the tone of Deadwood
David Milch on his writing process for Deadwood and the budget
David Milch on the budget of Deadwood
David Milch on his favorite Deadwood storylines
David Milch on the end of Deadwood
David Milch on the legacy of Deadwood

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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David Milch on winning Emmys and other awards for NYPD Blue

Hill Street Blues

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David Milch on how he came to write for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on "leading a double life" while writing for Hill Street Blues and his duties as Story Editor
David Milch on the process of writing for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on being promoted though the ranks on Hill Street Blues to Executive Producer
David Milch on working with Steven Bochco on Hill Street Blues
David Milch on favorite episodes of Hill Street Blues that he wrote
David Milch on what he learned about television writing from Hill Street Blues and its success 

John from Cincinnati

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David Milch on creating John from Cincinnati 

Murder One

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David Milch on co-writing the pilot to Murder One

NYPD Blue

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David Milch on co-creating NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco
David Milch on the look of NYPD Blue
David Milch on collaborating with Steven Bochco on NYPD Blue and dealing with the network
David Milch on how NYPD Blue differed from other cop shows
David Milch on David Caruso as "John Kelly" on NYPD Blue 
David Milch on his writing process for NYPD Blue
David Milch on his dialogue, also known as "MilchSpeak" and the language of NYPD Blue
David Milch on network interference with NYPD Blue
David Milch on using real-life stories on NYPD Blue
David Milch on Jimmy Smits joining the cast of NYPD Blue as "Bobby Simone"
David Milch on the production of NYPD Blue
David Milch on favorite episodes of NYPD Blue
David Milch on Jimmy Smits leaving NYPD Blue
David Milch on exiting NYPD Blue and how he felt about the show after he left
David Milch on the legacy of NYPD Blue
David Milch on winning Emmys and other awards for NYPD Blue
Topics

Advice

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David Milch on advice to aspiring television writers

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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David Milch on dealing with the network on NYPD Blue
David Milch on network interference with NYPD Blue

Characters & Catchphrases

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David Milch on Ian McShane as "Al Swearengen" on Deadwood

Emmy Awards

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David Milch on winning Emmys and other awards for NYPD Blue

First Big Break

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David Milch on how he came to write for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on how he came to write for Hill Street Blues

Overcoming Adversity

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David Milch on "leading a double life" while writing for Hill Street Blues  and his duties as Story Editor

Pivotal Career Moments

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David Milch on "leading a double life" while writing for Hill Street Blues  and his duties as Story Editor

Pop Culture

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David Milch on Ian McShane as "Al Swearengen" on Deadwood

Television Industry

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David Milch on dealing with the network on NYPD Blue
David Milch on network interference with NYPD Blue
David Milch on advice to aspiring television writers
Professions

Show Creators

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David Milch on his writing process
David Milch on the key to creating a series
David Milch on advice to aspiring television writers

Writers

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David Milch on the process of writing for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on his writing process
David Milch on the key to creating a series
David Milch on advice to aspiring television writers
Genres

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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David Milch on writing for Hill Street Blues
David Milch on co-creating and writing NYPD Blue (Part 1)
David Milch on co-creating and writing NYPD Blue (Part 2)

Western Series

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David Milch on creating and writing Deadwood   (Part 1) 
David Milch on co-creating and writing Deadwood (Part 2)
People

Steven Bochco

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David Milch on working with Steven Bochco on Hill Street Blues
David Milch on co-creating NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco
David Milch on collaborating with Steven Bochco on NYPD Blue  and dealing with the network

David Caruso

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David Milch on David Caruso as "John Kelly" on NYPD Blue 

Dennis Franz

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David Milch on producing Beverly Hills Buntz
David Milch on his dialogue, also known as "MilchSpeak" and the language of NYPD Blue

Dustin Hoffman

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David Milch on the series Luck

Michael Mann

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David Milch on the series Luck

Jimmy Smits

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David Milch on Jimmy Smits joining the cast of NYPD Blue as "Bobby Simone"
David Milch on Jimmy Smits leaving NYPD Blue

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