Steven Ronald Bochco was born in New York City. His parents were both artistic, his mother a painter, his father a violinist. He was educated in Manhattan at the High School of Music and Art, leaving in 1961 he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh to study playwrighting and theater. He graduated with a BFA in Theater in 1966 having also a MCA Writing Fellowship.
He went to work for Universal Studios. He worked as a writer and then story editor, he did work for Ironside, Columbo, McMillan and Wife and also the flops Griff, Delvecchio and The Invisible Man. He also did movie work, writing the screenplay for the 1968 TV movie The Counterfeit Killer, he also worked on Silent Running (1972) and Double Indemnity (1973). He left Universal in 1978 to go to MTM Enterprises where he had greater scope for producing work.
He achieved major success for NBC with the police drama Hill Street Blues. It ran from 1981 to 1987 and Bocho was credited as co-creator and also wrote and produced. Despite critical acclaim and awards the series was never very lucrative. Bocho was pushed from MTM in 1985 following the failure of his 1983 The Bay City Blues baseball project.
Bocho went on to develop, as creator and executive producer, LA Law (1986-1994) which was first aired on NBC. He was given a lucrative deal with ABC in 1987 which funded his own production company and also the comedy Doogie Howser, M.D (1989-1993) and the 1990 musical flop Cop Rock. After a lull he came back with another hit, the controversial, by network standards, NYPD Blue (1993) with David Milch. He built from that with the lesser successes of Murder One (1995-1997), Brooklyn South (1997) and City of Angels (2000).
He married Barbara Bosson in 1969. They divorced in 1998.