Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Putting the rumor mill into high gear

For those who might have missed some recent comments by VDOVault, an excellent commenter on these boards, here's some more links about what's going on behind the scenes at Law & Order/Criminal Intent:


In summary (or, word/aka Fox's Roger Friedman) has it:

1) Should L&O survive being axed, the lead cops will be replaced with less-expensive ones.
2) Chris Noth is likely to be axed from "Criminal Intent."
3) His partner, Julianne Nicholson is pregnant and already out.
4) One producer (Jamie Crowell Blank) at L&O is out.
5) S. Epatha Merkerson is unhappy with a lack of camera time and has made noise about it.


Bear in mind, as we've said before, that this is a Fox gossip columnist (he's very in, but he's not always accurate -- Merkerson hasn't been with the show "from the start," as he says) and he's talking about an NBC show.

Sources close to apocrypha spoke with Merkerson recently and she indicated that people are concerned behind the scenes about what happens next, but didn't voice anything about trying to grab more land for herself. Other sources indicated that Noth's salary is the issue; perception at NBC is that he might be able to carry a show on his own.

And that's what we know, at this point.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not Good, Not Bad ... Yet

The news still remains in the air about the fate of "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" -- both of which might not get renewed. We'll know in mid-May. Meanwhile, here's an article from today's "Hollywood Reporter" which looks at the fate of the two shows.

No decision on 2 'L&O' series

After more than a month of negotiations, the future of Dick Wolf's crime dramas for NBC, "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," is still uncertain.

This week began with a flurry of rumors Monday about the cancellation of the mothership series. After an in-person meeting between reps for Wolf and NBC later that day, the fate of the show was moved back into the "undecided" column. Talks between the two sides are expected to stretch into early May before a final decision on the two series is made. (The franchise's third series, "L&O: SVU," was picked up for next season in January.)

"Talks have been taking place and continue to take place about the future of both 'Law & Order' and 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' " Wolf said Wednesday. "I think the discussions have reached a productive stage, and it's my finest hope that we will find a way to have both shows picked up. I feel that creatively they are remarkably strong.

" 'Criminal Intent' went through a major face-lift this fall, and I think it really worked. I also think that 'Law & Order' is still doing a great job of telling stories that very few other shows can tackle," Wolf said.

He declined further comment on the negotiations.

"We're in discussions with Dick to explore ways to bring back one or both shows, but no final decision has been made," an NBC spokeswoman said.

From the very beginning, it was made clear by both sides that a renewal for the shows would be a business decision; both "L&O," in its 17th season, and "L&O: CI," in its sixth, are expensive to produce, with ensemble casts and New York-based shoots, while their ratings have held steady but not near the levels from several years ago.

But as negotiations have been going on, NBC's fortunes changed. With "Heroes" still on the bench, the network posted its lowest weekly ratings among adults 18-49 for the past two weeks, with a number of series softening, including once-hot game show "Deal or No Deal."

It is understood that, from a financial standpoint, even with significant cost cuts, "L&O" won't be able continue in its current slot on the low-traffic, low-ad-revenue Friday night. Things look brighter if "Law & Order" moves to another night, with the Wednesday 10 p.m. period — where the veteran drama spent 15 years — as a potential candidate. All of the drama series NBC has put in the time slot since sending "L&O" to Fridays have fared worse than the drama.

It is understood that the "L&O" camp also is hoping for a return of its other series on the bubble, "L&O: CI," to its old Sunday 9 p.m. period after football.

There has been speculation about potential casting changes on "L&O," including Fred Thompson and Milena Govich leaving, but sources said that no decisions will be made until there is a license fee deal.

While its future on the network is still in doubt, the "L&O" franchise is going strong for producers NBC Universal TV Studio and Wolf Films with international format sales and domestic syndication sales. Russian versions of "L&O: SVU" and "L&O: CI" already are on the air, and France is about to launch a local version of "L&O: CI," and "L&O: SVU" recently was sold in weekend syndication for the fall in the U.S.

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