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Steven Bochco, innovative co-creator of ‘NYPD Blue,’ ‘Hill Street Blues’ dies at 74

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LOS ANGELES — Steven Bochco, a producer whose boundary-pushing series like “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue” helped define the modern TV drama, died Sunday morning, his family said. He was 74.

Bochco had been battling a rare form of leukemia for several years. He had a transplant in late 2014 that was credited with prolonging his life.

“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” his family said in a statement. “He died peacefully in his sleep with is family close by.”

 Steven Bochco in Los Angeles in 2008. Stephen Shugerman / Getty Images for Turner file

Working with different collaborators, Bochco co-created some of TV’s most popular series for more than 20 years while helping to create the template for modern shows featuring large ensemble casts, serialized storylines and edgy content.

The recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Humanitas Prize and Peabody honors, Bochco was nominated for an Emmy 30 times in his capacities as producer and writer, winning 10 times.

On “NYPD Blue,” he consciously set out to expand what was acceptable on broadcast television, and he recalled sitting with Robert Iger, then the head of ABC Entertainment — who went on to become chief executive of the Walt Disney Co. — drawing naked figures, determining exactly how much of the body could be shown.

Bochco launched such series as “Hill Street Blues” — a ground-breaking, Emmy-winning cop show — and “L.A. Law” for NBC before entering into a landmark 10-series deal with ABC in the late 1980s. The relationship produced some clear hits (“NYPD Blue,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.”) and some notable failures, including the musical police drama “Cop Rock” and the serialized courtroom drama “Murder One,” which followed a single murder trial over an entire season.

As virtual proof that the latter was ahead of its time, Bochco essentially revived it in 2014, under the title “Murder in the First,” for TNT.

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Asked how he could risk gambling on a musical like “Cop Rock” given the richness of his ABC pact, Bochco once joked, “With my deal, how could I not?”

Maintaining a high profile, Bochco wasn’t above engaging in public spats and power struggles, from complaining about his treatment by network executives to tussling with recalcitrant stars. In one of the highest-profile tiffs, his rift with David Caruso during the first season of “NYPD Blue” led to the actor’s exit, a considerable gamble for a series in its first season. Bochco replaced him with former “L.A. Law” co-star Jimmy Smits, and the program went on to run 11 years.

With “Hill Street Blues,” Bochco and co-creator Michael Kozoll broke the dramatic mold, featuring a huge ensemble cast and a gritty narrative while juggling various subplots. NBC was in the ratings cellar at the time, but its patience with prestigious programs like “Hill Street” and “Cheers” was rewarded after “The Cosby Show” premiered in 1984, turning its Thursday lineup into a ratings juggernaut.

Although Bochco often consciously pressed against boundaries and seemed to delight in testing censors, he recalled that the breakthrough storytelling style of “Hill Street Blues” was born more out of necessity than design.

“We had so many characters that we realized we couldn’t service 10 or 11 characters within the confines of a single episode, so the only way that we could really do justice to the size of the world was by creating storylines that spilled over the margins,” he told The New York Times in 2014.

Bochco was married three times. He is survived by his third wife, TV producer Dayna Kalins, whom he married in 2000, a daughter, Melissa, and two sons, Jeffrey and Jesse.



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Israeli PM Netanyahu: Hamas ‘will pay heavy price’ as violence continues | World News

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Hamas “will pay a heavy price for their belligerence” as the country steps up its attacks on the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military destroyed a building used by the militant group, killing at least three militants, as Palestinian rockets continued to fall on parts of Israel.

It is the heaviest fighting between the two enemies since 2014.

A man in Gaza is comforted after one of his relatives died in the violence
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People in Gaza mourned loved ones killed in the violence

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address: “We are at the height of a weighty campaign.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid… and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence.”

He said Israel would “continue to attack with full force”, adding: “This campaign will take time”.

“With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”

Israeli medics treat a man injured in the airstrikes. Pic: AP
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Israeli medics treat a man injured in the airstrikes. Pic: AP

Five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, and dozens of people were injured.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 35 Palestinians, including 10 children, according to the health ministry, with more than 200 people wounded.

The violence began last weekend at the al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.

Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians who threw stones and chairs back at them.

At times, police fired stun grenades into the carpeted mosque.

Streaks of light are seen in Ashkelon as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel
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Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from Gaza

On Monday evening, Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza and the conflict escalated rapidly.

Hamas’ exiled leader, Ismail Haniyeh, blamed Israel, saying: “It’s the Israeli occupation that set Jerusalem on fire, and the flames reached Gaza.”

Hamas said it had fired 210 rockets towards Tel Aviv and its suburbs, where residents had to run into air raid shelters as sirens blared and anti-rocket interceptors were seen overhead on Tuesday.

Homes in Gaza shook under the weight of the Israeli attacks, with at least 30 explosions in just minutes early on Wednesday.

Palestinians and Israeli police clash at al-Aqsa mosque o n Jerusalem Day.
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Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem Day.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “Stop the fire immediately.

“We’re escalating towards a full scale war.

“Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation.

“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. The UN is working with all sides to restore calm.

“Stop the violence now.”

A number of factors have stoked tensions in the decades-long conflict to their worst in years, said Sky’s correspondent Mark Stone earlier this week.

An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attack in Tel-Aviv
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An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attacks in Tel-Aviv

Palestinians were angry at an Israeli police decision, at the start of Ramadan, to barricade the seating area outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.

There is also the issue of Sheikh Jarrah, the East Jerusalem neighbourhood where Palestinian families are fighting a court battle with Jewish settlers who want to take their homes, claiming the land is historically theirs.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it as their own, but most of the international community considers it to be occupied land.

Monday was also Jerusalem Day, marking the moment when Israel took control of the city.

A march by hundreds of nationalist Israelis was changed on Monday evening to avoid going through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce partnership with Procter & Gamble – a company she once called sexist | US News

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Decades after criticising Procter & Gamble as a child, the Duchess of Sussex and her husband have announced a partnership with the firm.

Meghan and Harry’s Archewell Foundation confirmed a long-term relationship with the American multi-national consumer goods company on Tuesday.

It will focus on gender equality, inclusive online spaces, resilience and impact through sport.

As an 11-year-old, Meghan had written to Procter & Gamble to complain about the sexist language used in a TV advert.

Her letter-writing campaign objected to a dish soap commercial which included the line: “Mothers around America are fighting greasy pots and pans”.

She appeared in an interview with Nick News in 1993 to talk about her campaign, saying she was “furious” about the advert.

She added: “When they heard this, the boys in my class started saying: ‘Yeah that’s where women belong – in the kitchen’.”

Meghan successfully lobbied the firm to change the line from “mothers around America” to “people all over America”.

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie, meets with Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu, and his wife Leah in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The royal couple are on the third day of their African tour. (Henk Kruger/African News Agency via AP, Pool)
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Harry and Meghan and their son Archie now live in the US. Pic: AP

Announcing the partnership, the Archewell website said: “Archewell Foundation believes that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can unleash systemic cultural change.

“In service of doing this, and building more compassionate communities, Archewell Foundation announced a multi-year global partnership today with Procter & Gamble.”

The website said the partnership would “elevate the voices of adolescent girls” to ensure “their point of view and lived experience is heard at the tables where decisions are made”.

It also vowed to work with men and boys to encourage gender equality.

On their son Archie's birthday the couple called for vaccine equality
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On their son Archie’s birthday the couple called for vaccine equality

The foundation said it will build on joint aspirations with P&G, which it worked with in support of Global Citizen’s Vax live concert, in aid of the international COVID-19 vaccination effort.

Procter & Gamble owns brands such as Oral B, Gillette, Pampers and Tampax, and reported net sales in 2019 of $67.7bn (£47.8bn).

On its website, it said: “We’ve also been inspired by the mission of the Archewell Foundation and its founders, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can drive systemic cultural change, benefiting everyone.”

Harry and Meghan quit as senior working royals in March last year.

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Greece: £257,000 reward offered to catch killers who strangled British mother, 20, in her Athens home | World News

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A €300,000 (£257,000) reward is being offered by the Greek government to track down burglars who strangled a British woman next to her baby in Athens.

The 20-year-old victim was sleeping with her husband and 11-month-old child when three men broke into their home in the Glyka Nera suburb before dawn after killing the family’s dog, said reports.

The young mother was tied up and strangled, while her 32-year-old husband, a pilot, was bound and gagged.

He survived Tuesday’s “barbaric” attack and managed to loosen his ties before calling police.

The burglars escaped with money and jewellery, while the baby was unharmed.

Greece’s minister responsible for public order, Michalis Chrisochoidis, described the woman’s killing as “particularly heinous”.

“One rarely encounters such barbarity in Greece, in Greek society, even among criminals,” he said.

The victim was born in Greece but had a British passport, according to police, who said she was married to a Greek man.

Two teams of detectives are investigating the deadly incident.

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