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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Blogger VDOVault said...

I have been blogging this very weird series of negotiating posturing articles in several posts at my site...anybody want to start a pool on which shows will 'not be renewed' and on what date the announcement will come?

The Vault

2:54 PM  
Blogger VDOVault said...

Heads up ladies,2933,268020,00.html#2
I told you yesterday about the turmoil at Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" shows on NBC. Here's a little more.
Wolf, sources say, is in a huge-cost cutting move at the moment to keep classic "L&O" and "Criminal Intent" on the air.
For the former show, he has already fired a producer and is thinking of axing the actors who play the cops. He would replace them with younger, cheaper people.
For "Criminal Intent," it's a different story. There is talk that Wolf has suggested eliminating long time "L&O" player Chris Noth from "CI." Noth came on in 2006 to alternate episodes with Vincent D'Onofrio. The latter actor had become very difficult and the company required a soothing change.
But D'Onofrio, they say, has calmed down. He is also less expensive than Noth, who is such a bona-fide star that he could easily carry his own show.
On top of that, Noth has already gone through one co-star, Annabella Sciorra. Now I'm told that Julianne Nicholson, who replaced Sciorra, is already not coming back, thanks to her pregnancy.
Here's an interesting theory about why "CI" might survive while classic "L&O" might not. Apparently, "CI" is a hit in France, where the scripts are refilmed with French actors. The French production company pays a high fee for this.
"They don't like the original 'Law & Order' because their judicial system doesn't allow for the way the show is divided between the cops and lawyers," an observer said. "'CI' is much easier for them to replicate."
Stay tuned. ...,2933,267803,00.html#2
'Law & Order' Chaos
It's chaos in the world of Dick Wolf and "Law & Order."
Last year at this time, we told you NBC was going to cancel the series after 17 seasons and countless, ceaseless reruns in syndication. But our story did the trick, and the network relented.
Now NBC is sharpening its ax again, looking at both classic "L&O" and spin-off "Criminal Intent" as prime shows to cross off its schedule for next year.
Last week, Variety and other outlets noted this situation, but there was plenty they missed and some things they could not know. The latter included the newest dilemma at NBC about Alec Baldwin and "30 Rock."
Will the peacock's feathers withstand one of its stars calling his 11-year-old daughter a "rude, thoughtless pig"?
Meanwhile, NBC is still dealing with the quiet demise of "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip." That hour must be filled next season.
And then there's all the weird stuff going on in the Wolf's den to keep the two shows on the air. "Law & Order: SVU" has already been renewed; it's a bona-fide hit.
Already told she's out at "Law & Order" is producer Jamie Crowell Blank. She was a controversial presence anyway based on a still unsettled sexual harassment brought by a former staffer.
Wolf is also telling insiders that if "Law & Order" is renewed, he's dumping Jesse L. Martin and Milena Govich, who play the cops on the show.
Wolf is coming up with a plan to cut the show's weekly budget in half, and replacing those actors with less expensive ones would be a way to do that, sources say.
But there's another problem on "Law & Order": S. Epatha Merkerson, the much-admired actress who has been with the show from the start, is unhappy.
Merkerson, who plays a desk-bound cop, has been complaining for years of not having enough airtime. Lately scripts have had her out on investigations, but Merkerson's recent raft of awards and nominations for HBO's "Lackawanna Blues" has emboldened her to make demands and to consider leaving the show altogether.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Kitt & Kor said...

VDO ...

We love having you reading the blog and posting!

But the blog is more like for announcements, and you'll get more traction and conversation going if you think about joining the apocrypha mailing list. Head over to and we'll hope to read you on the list! I'll pass your info to them now.


9:38 PM  
Blogger VDOVault said...

I love you both too but I have like zero time to join the mailing list right now thanks to the renewal fight and May sweeps (and I am so swamped with email right now both for renewal discussions and regarding aquisitions for my collection)...I did have this additional heads up for you though courtesy of The Reel Vincent D'Onofrio


I have given your blog a plug at The you should gently suggest they join the mailing list ;-)

Warren Leight of CI interviewed regarding CI's fate

I've got more analysis to post at my own blog...feel free to lift any relevant article links you want or need there.

And remind me about the mailing list when this is all over, okay?

The Vault

3:08 PM  

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