David S. Milch (born March 23, 1945) is an American writer and producer of television series. He has created several television shows, including NYPD Blue (co-created with Steven Bochco) and Deadwood.
Milch graduated summa cum laude from Yale where he won the Tinker Prize in English and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter,  along with future U.S. president George W. Bush. He earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.
To avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, Milch enrolled in Yale Law School, but was expelled for shooting out a police car siren with a shotgun. Milch then worked as a writing teacher and lecturer in English literature at Yale. During his teaching career, he assisted Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks in the writing of several college textbooks on literature. Milch's poetry and fiction have been published in The Atlantic Monthly and the Southern Review.
In 1982, Milch wrote a script for Hill Street Blues which became the episode "Trial by Fury". This began his career in television. He worked five seasons on Hill Street Blues as executive story editor and then as executive producer. Milch earned two more Writers Guild Awards, a second Humanitas prize, and another Emmy while working on that show.
Milch created NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco and served as Executive Producer of that series for seven seasons. Milch co-created the patrol police drama Brooklyn South with Bochco, Bill Clark and William S. Finkelstein in 1997 while still working on NYPD Blue. After NYPD Blue, Milch created a CBS series called Big Apple.
From 2002-2006, Milch produced Deadwood, a dramatic series for HBO. Milch served as creator, writer, and executive producer. The series ended in 2006, following its third season. There were plans for two feature length movies to conclude the series, but after many rumours, star Ian McShane has said that the sets have been struck and the films are highly unlikely to be produced.
Ian McShane presented David Milch with the 2006 Outstanding Television Writer Award at the Austin Film Festival.
Milch began production in 2006 on John from Cincinnati, another dramatic series for HBO. The series was canceled after its first season. Initial ratings had been lower than expected but increased steadily. Ratings for the final episode were more than 3 million.
In October 2007 HBO renewed its contract with Milch. A pilot was commissioned for Last of the Ninth, "a drama set in the New York Police Department during the 1970s, when the Knapp Commission was formed to ferret out corruption in the force". Collaborating with Milch on Last of the Ninth was former NYPD Blue writer and friend Bill Clark. In December of 2008 The Hollywood Reporter stated that Last Of The Ninth would not be picked up by the network.
In January of 2010 Milch announced that he was developing a new drama for HBO entitled Luck based around horse racing culture. Michael Mann is slated to direct the pilot and Dustin Hoffman has been cast to star.
Thoroughbred horse racing
Milch is an owner of thoroughbred racehorses. Notably, as a co-owner with Mark and Jack Silverman, he won the 1992 Breeders' Cup Juvenile with the colt Gilded Time. Milch owned outright Val Royal who captured the 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile.
Television credits (as creator)
- Beverly Hills Buntz (1987-1988) - co-creator, writer, producer of this Hill Street Blues spin-off.
- Capital News (1990) - co-creator, writer, producer.
- NYPD Blue (1993-2005) - co-creator, writer, executive producer.
- Brooklyn South (1997-1998) - co-creator, executive producer.
- Total Security (1997) - co-creator, writer.
- Big Apple (2001) - creator, writer, executive producer.
- Deadwood (2004-2006) - creator, writer, executive producer.
- John from Cincinnati (2007) - co-creator, writer, executive producer.
- Last of the Ninth (2009) - creator, writer, executive producer.
- Luck (2010) - creator, writer, executive producer.
Awards and recognition
- 1993 Emmy Award, Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (Hill Street Blues)
- 1994 Edgar Award, Best Episode in a Television Series Teleplay (NYPD Blue, "4B or Not 4B")
- 1995 Emmy Award, Best Drama Series (NYPD Blue)
- 1995 Edgar Award, Best Episode in a Television Series Teleplay (NYPD Blue, "Simone Says") (shared with Steven Bochco and Walon Green)
- 2006 Austin Film Festival, Outstanding Television Writer Award recipient
- Profile: HBO
- The Idea of the Writer with David Milch: The Idea of the Writer A Lecture Series
- Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield rebuttal to Milch's statement that George Custer was a psychopath