Steven Bochco has a question for ABC execs: When did love die?
The exec producer of the Alphabet’s longrunning “NYPD Blue” is peeved that ABC execs are refusing to guarantee “Blue’s” survival beyond next season, should the skein take a hit in its tough new 10 p.m. Wednesday timeslot opposite NBC’s powerhouse “Law & Order.”
Bochco told Daily Variety he’s pleased ABC is putting his new Kim Delaney-starrer “Philly” in “Blue’s” old 10 p.m. Tuesday slot. With “Blue” about to start its ninth season, he also said he understands — though doesn’t love — the idea of moving the show to Wednesdays.
But, “it’s an enormously risky move for (‘Blue’),” Bochco said. “There’s no way we’re going to do the same business Wednesdays at 10 as we did on Tuesdays. So the least you could do is pick us up for a tenth season, so we have a net under us.”
ABC has an option for a tenth season of “Blue,” but execs at the net don’t feel renewing the show now makes sense from a business viewpoint. And that’s what has Bochco steamed.
“It’s a ‘relationship’ when it suits their needs. And when it doesn’t, it’s business,” Bochco said. “They’re creatures of self-interest, first and foremost.”
ABC execs say they’re treating the show with reverence as one of their most potent weapons.
“The reason we were able to make this aggressive scheduling move is that we believe in the strength of ‘NYPD Blue,’ ” an ABC spokesman said.
” ‘NYPD Blue’ will definitely improve our performances Wednesdays at 10. And this hopefully allows us to build a new hit in ‘Philly’ Tuesdays at 10.”
Without a guaranteed renewal for “Blue,” Bochco is worried about the perception that he is sacrificing his old show to boost his new one — something that’s not the case, he said. At the same time, Bochco realizes there’s little he can do.
“We’ll just go and be professional and do our job,” he said.
Bochco’s been upset with ABC before. Two years ago, net angered the producer by delaying “Blue’s” season bow to January.