NYPD Blue at 30: How the Controversial Crime Drama Left Its Mark on Network TV

NYPD Blue at 30: The TV show “NYPD Blue,” which began 30 years ago, aimed to revolutionize public television. While it didn’t have as much impact as expected, it still influenced crime shows and network TV.

People had mixed feelings about the first episode of the show. Christian groups opposing the American Family Association (AFA). Sponsors and ABC stations targeted by AFA attack. The AFA’s attempt was significant in protest history, showcasing its power and limitations. The debut of “NYPD Blue” had good ratings and won fans despite some detractors.

Steven Bochco and David Milch created the show to push the boundaries of what could be shown on public TV. Bochco believed regular networks were losing viewers to premium channels like HBO, which had more freedom to air controversial shows. Bob Iger was in charge of ABC Entertainment. He and Bochco discussed the show’s limits with these rules. They sketched to determine the TV’s body display limit.

Bochco joked that he owed the American Family Association and its leader, Donald Wildmon, a bottle of wine for making the show popular.

“NYPD Blue” won many awards, including 20 Emmys, and was praised by critics for 11 seasons. Though famous, few TV shows altered rules due to its influence. But it made room for more controversial cable TV stories, like “The Sopranos,” released later.

There were issues with the show, like when Jimmy Smits replaced David Caruso, a risky move. Still, it had many viewers and high ratings, solidifying its place in TV history.

While “NYPD Blue” didn’t revolutionize TV as expected, it remains a memorable and boundary-pushing show on network TV.

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