Milch directs a John From Cincinnati scene.

David Milch (b. 1945) is the creator and executive producer of John From Cincinnati.

Milch worked as a teacher and lecturer in English literature at Yale. During his teaching career at Yale, 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, beginning his career in television. He worked five seasons on Hill Street Blues as executive story editor, and then as executive producer.

Following Hill Street Blues, Milch and Blues creator Steven Bochco created another successful series, NYPD Blue, which ran from 1993 to 2000. Milch's 2001 CBS series, Big Apple, lasted only one season.

In 2002, Milch created the HBO drama series Deadwood, and served as writer and executive producer. The series ended in 2006, following its third season, although Milch reportedly has plans for two feature length follow-up movies.

In a June 2007 New York Times article, Milch discussed the meaning that he's found in making a show about surfing: "I’ve learned making this show that the essence of surfing is so compelling that it makes other parts of life pale by comparison. You end up chasing that first experience, a devil’s bargain that is all part of the wave." [1]

Often called an "eccentric", Milch says that he's not interested in others' opinions: "When I write, there are only five or six people whose nods of approval I care about," he says. "But all of them are dead." [2]

Filming "John From Cincinnati"Edit


Milch is known for his unique approach to television drama. "To my mind, reality is a shifting and elusive condition," he says. "It redefines itself constantly. The actors find one of my most endearing qualities, my insistence after they have located and beautifully conveyed the state of mind or spirit of a character: I'll say, 'Can you try and suggest simultaneously the exact opposite?' And then I duck." [3]

Asked to compare his experiences working with Milch on Deadwood and John From Cincinnati, Austin Nichols remarked,

At least I knew what to expect this time. David is pretty much clinically insane. He's a lunatic. It's sometimes very difficult to be around him, and other times it's just the greatest thing ever. You have to stay on your toes... It's all moment to moment. Our production shares the [Alcoholics Anonymous] credo, 'One day at a time.' We literally don't have a plan, we don't have a shooting schedule, we don't have a script. We get pages the night before, or we may get to the set and improvise or David will dictate lines to us on the spot. It's very in the moment. But I've always craved spontaneity in my work, so this has been the greatest thing ever. [4]

Milch's vision for the show is based on a grand, unique vision of life, and his place in it. "I am an instrument of purposes that I don't fully understand," he says. "Time will tell whether I am a wing nut or a megalomaniac. The difference between a cult and faith is time. I believe that we are a single organism, and that something is at stake in this particular moment." [5]

Personal lifeEdit

Milch has been open about the darkness in his own past:

Milch, 62, has described a childhood tormented by an adored surgeon father who beat him and later committed suicide. He said he was an alcoholic by the time he was 12 and used heroin into his 50s. 'I was loaded every day for 30 years. I did all my work -- Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, taught at Yale -- when I was loaded. In the day, it was supposed to be hip, it wasn't much of a problem. Then it stopped being hip,' said Milch. 'I was also [screwed] up, a sociopath, all kinds of stupid things.' Milch got sober 8 years ago through 'God's grace,' he said. 'To me, sobriety is taking the world as I find it. Trying to glorify it in its complexity, its reality, its beauty, its horror, and not try to judge it.' [6]


A number of John From Cincinnati actors have appeared in other Milch-produced shows, including:

Writing creditsEdit

External linksEdit


  1. "Moondoggie Needs an Intervention", The New York Times, David Carr. June 3, 2007.
  2. "Hollywood Drops In", Jon Cohen, Outside Magazine. July 2007.
  3. "Kathy Griffin's 'Life on the D-List' begins new season", PopMatters, Luaine Lee. June 5, 2007.
  4. "Surfing to Stardom", Jeanne Wolf, Ocean Drive Magazine, May 2007.
  5. "A Producer Hangs 10 in a Risky HBO Pilot", The New York Times, David Carr. November 20, 2006.
  6. "David Milch mines his imperfect past in John From Cincinnati", The Los Angeles Times, Lynn Smith. June 3, 2007.