Friday, March 31, 2006

Burning News on Elisabeth Rohm

In other former "Law & Order" cast news, Lloyd Grove from the NY Daily News has an update today on Elisabeth "Is it because I'm a lesbian?" Rohm's recent doings. Interesting stuff, actually:
Rohm isn't fiddling
as a Bx. flat burns

Elisabeth Rohm, who inspired 'Law' and ardor, is back in New York training as a volunteer for the Red Cross.

When she was an assistant DA on "Law & Order," blond beauty Elisabeth Rohm saved the city from hardened criminals. And now, in real life, the 32-year-old actress is in training to help distressed citizens by volunteering for the New York chapter of the Red Cross.

The other night, Rohm went on a rescue run to the north Bronx.

"There was a kitchen fire in a third-floor apartment of 14-story housing project," she told me yesterday. "The entire kitchen was burned out, so the Fire Department called the Red Cross and we went up there with dinner and water and any comfort we could give. It was four people living in a one-bedroom apartment, and now the Red Cross is putting them up in a hotel. But they were frantic because the cat was missing."

New Yorker Rohm - a celebrity lamb chop in the window for the Red Cross' "Give 100, New York" campaign - is moving back here after eight long months in Los Angeles, having just sold her house in the Hollywood Hills.

"I've just been homesick," she told me, adding that she's planning to spend a lot of time flying back and forth to L.A. for auditions and such.

She has a new boyfriend after her breakup a year ago with NBC legal guy Dan Abrams: It's Manhattan commercial real-estate broker Lance Korman, a match made by Lizzie Grubman. She has a new movie, "Aftermath," a thriller in which she stars opposite Anthony Michael Hall - and which features the late Chris Penn. It awaits a distribution deal. And Rohm recently became a trustee of her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College.

For the first time, in an essay she's writing, Rohm is planning to go public with her teenage experiences in a juvenile detention center upstate and how she managed to overcome her anger issues. "I was scared straight, and I finally got my act together," she said.

Maybe Naomi Campbell should give her a call.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Moriarty Writes NY Magazine

Unhappy with a recent characterization of his Ben Stone character in a John Leonard review of "Conviction" in New York Magazine as a "Robespierre," Michael Moriarty wrote a lengthy note to the Letters to the Editor section, and it has been published. Here you go (and way to go to Debbie -- he mentions the MMUUUP page!):

Revolutionary Law & Order

A recent plug by John Leonard for Dick Wolf’s latest spinoff [“Television: A Soap in Wolf’s Clothing,” March 6] described my role in the original Law & Order as that of a “Robespierre.” What gives? For those of you who might not know, Maximilien Robespierre was the murderous ideologist of the French Revolution. He was most assuredly not a good man like my character, Ben Stone. Executing France’s aristocracy wasn’t enough for Robespierre, who sent his former comrades to be guillotined during the Terror. Dick Wolf had his own share of purges: I watched the real genius behind Law & Order, executive producer Joseph Stern, leave after two years. Actors Richard Brooks and Dann Florek were summarily fired. Paul Sorvino was eased out because he’d repeatedly suffered from a respiratory ailment after working on New York street locations and wanted to work indoors. Chris Noth was icily informed that his contract hadn’t been renewed at the end of the fifth year. I’m running for president of the United States in 2008 on a third-party ticket, entering the race on a basically comic note, since no one in the mainstream press is taking me seriously, certainly not John Leonard. Or is he? Someone at New York is reading my editorials and articles on and, or Leonard’s French Revolutionary comparison would never have been made. No, Mr. Leonard, I didn’t play Ben Stone as a Robespierre. If you want to lay a French moniker on me, try Lafayette, who advised George Washington to abolish slavery. As Lafayette cried for an end to slavery, I’m declaring, “End abortion! Overturn Roe v. Wade!” The last great lion, Sir Winston Churchill, suffered from sudden depressions he called his “black dog.” Churchill’s occasional funk will prove a mild case of the blues when compared to the eternal despair about to descend on the American careerists of the Third Millennium. Once the breathtakingly self-evident truth about abortion enters their Princetonian, Yalie, Madison Avenue, spin-doctoring, Rolling Stone, New York Times, exploitative souls, the effect of that light upon their eugenics-inspired darkness will be like rabies in a raccoon. Dick Wolf and John Leonard are minor raccoons swept up in the rabies of American careerism.

michael moriarty,
—Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Friday, March 17, 2006

Variety: "L&O" reruns losing steam

This doesn't sound good:

From Variety:
'Law' losing rerun steam
Franchise overkill tiring TNT, Peacock auds

Nothing lasts forever -- not even "Law & Order."

TNT has run the proverbial sprockets out of the more than 300 episodes of "Law & Order" for the past few years, riding reruns of the most durable one-hour series in the history of television to a first-place finish in total viewers among all cable networks for three years straight (2003 through 2005).

But harbingers of decline are starting to crop up in 2006, as TNT continues to rely heavily on "L&O," scheduling it 14 times a week between 7 and 11 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"We're concerned about the ratings," said Steve Koonin, exec VP and chief operating officer at TNT and TBS.

The 7 p.m. strip of "Law & Order" is down 29% in adults 18-49 year-to-date, but Koonin said the show is facing reruns of "CSI" every weekday on Spike TV and reruns of the first "Law & Order" sequel, "SVU," on USA.

Similarly, at 8 p.m., "L&O" is off by 26% in adults 18-49 year to date. Spike TV plays a second daily rerun of "CSI" at 8, directly up against the four "Law & Order" plays (every weeknight except Thursday, when TNT runs NBA basketball). Also at 8, USA weighs in with four runs of the second "L&O" sequel, "Criminal Intent."

Decline on cable coincides with continued ratings decline for the "L&O" mothership on NBC. Season-to-date in adults 18-49, PeacockPeacock's broadcasts of the Wednesday night show are down 14% from last year -- and 33% vs. 2004.

NBC's broadcasts of "Law & Order: SVU""Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: CI" are also down vs. last season, though "SVU" remains a potent player on Tuesdays, regularly winning its 10 p.m. timeslot.

Ratings erosion of "L&O" on NBC can be attributed to the same factors hurting the show on TNT: competition and overexposure.

During 2004 and much of 2005, Peacock went on an "L&O" bender, sometimes airing different versions of the brand up to a dozen hours a week. It's since cut back, but the damage may have been done.

At the same time, two of the three "L&O" brands now face blockbuster competish. The Wednesday original has been challenged by "CSI: NY," while Sunday's "CI" has to battle "Desperate Housewives" and "The Sopranos""The Sopranos" (with low-rated "The West Wing""The West Wing" as a lead-in).

As for TNT, cabler can still harvest a big audience for an individual "L&O" episode, like the 3.56 million viewers who checked out the 9 p.m. edition on Feb. 27, or the 3.54 million who watched the Feb. 28 hour.

But those were the only two "L&O" episodes that cracked the top 50 rated programs for the week ended March 4. During many weeks in 2004 and 2005, a half-dozen "L&O" hours on TNT would show up in the top 50.

Koonin said help is on the way, because TNT will be able to start playing multiple runs of the CBS hit "Without a Trace" in September. And in fall 2007 another CBS hit, "Cold Case," will make its way to TNT for multiple runs on a four-year-plus license term.

TNT also has a large inventory of theatrical movies that could take over one or more nights of the schedule before September. And an elaborate, original eight-hour miniseries, "Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King," will run multiple times during the summer.

(Rick Kissell in Hollywood contributed to this report.)
Date in print: Thurs., Mar. 16, 2006, Los Angeles

For what it's worth, I can't disagree with the whole overkill thing. I mean, I like the show too, but TNT seems gunshy about showing any L&O's pre, say, 2003. TNT would do well to start showing some of the older ones, for sheer variety's sake. That would get me watching them again. Nothing against Fontana and Green, but some people want Logan/Briscoe/Ceretta/Greevey more than once in a blue moon.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Save "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"

Okay, so "Criminal Intent" isn't quite over the edge yet. But a recent poster on our list noted that it was up for renewal soon, and that you never know about these things, so -- what the heck. Send a letter to a couple of the big cheeses at the networks to make sure. Go here for some addresses; there's a link on the page for a sample letter which will have much more impact if you personalize it. So hopefully we won't have to be shouting, "Save 'Criminal Intent'!"

After all, Goren would do it for you.