Monday, January 28, 2008

NBC/Universal Lawsuit Against Dick Wolf

NBC Universal has filed suit against Dick Wolf over a contract dispute, according to today's Hollywood Reporter:
On Friday, NBC-Universal Network Programming and Universal Network Television filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the "L&O" creator and executive producer asking the court to interpret a contract between the two over the amount of executive producer fees Wolf is entitled to receive for the all three series, which include "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

At issue is an agreement signed in September 2004 by the two sides that included provisions for Wolf's executive producer fees, imputed license fees and other fees and compensation for the "Law & Order" series.

NBC Universal claims the agreement is a "pay-or-play" contract calling for Wolf to be paid executive producer fees in 48-episode blocks upon each order from NBC, regardless of how many episodes are actually ordered.

According to the complaint, Wolf has contended the 48-episode guarantee provides a "kill fee" in which he can be paid for two seasons of episodes of any "Law & Order" series, including ones that are not produced when NBC decides to not order more seasons. NBC Universal claim that Wolf's position would provide him "with an unintended windfall of millions of dollars."

NBC Universal's lawsuit has not changed Wolf's position on the issue.

"NBC Universal is trying to rewrite an existing contract," he said through a representative. "Apparently, our partner is willing to commission rewrites during the strike."

On the one hand, it may not be that big of a deal ... but on the other, is this some way for the network to get out of more "L&O" seasons? That's the big concern from this standpoint....

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

L&O/CI: Noth spawns!

For those of you who may have missed the announcement last week (and I'm raising my hand, too), Chris Noth became a father on January 18. The babe's name? Orion.

Here's a blurb from one of the gossip mags:

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

News: New "Unofficial Companion" Book Coming in 2009

Exclusive to apocrypha: BenBella Books will be publishing a new "Law & Order" "Unofficial Companion" book, this one devoted to the "Special Victims Unit" show. At the moment, the expected publish date is in 2009, so you'll have plenty of time to save up your pennies.

But the bonus news is that it'll be co-written by Susan Green (author of the original "Law & Order: Unofficial Companion" book (at left), which was last published in 1997 -- and ... well, one of your apocrypha co-editors lo these many years, who you know best as Kitt.

That means apocrypha readers will get updates on the book first, have exclusive access to early pages, and even have the chance to contribute to the book's final content!

Over the next few weeks, we'll be putting up a Web page devoted specifically to the book, and likely either tailor this blog to the book more specifically, or start up a second blog. So be sure to watch this space or sign up to the apocrypha list (if you're not already a member). At that time, we're going to give you an email address where you can send all of the questions you've always wanted to ask about the show, its characters, its writers and so forth -- and if possible, we'll get the answers to include in the book. The fans are what make "SVU" so great -- and we definitely need you guys!

All for now -- more, naturally, coming soon ... but we're going to be very busy -- we have almost 200 episodes to re-watch!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bloody Good: L&O Gets British Makeover

From today's Hollywood Reporter:

Original 'L&O' series handles London calls
By Kimberly Nordyke and Nellie Andreeva
Jan 3, 2008

"Law & Order" is getting a British accent.

NBC Universal and Wolf Films are in negotiations to license U.K. format rights to the long-running procedural drama series to British production company Kudos Film & Television, sources said. ITV is set to air the tentatively titled "Law & Order: London," which Kudos, the company behind BBC's "Hustle," will co-produce.

"L&O: London" will mark the first locally produced version of Dick Wolf's original "L&O" series and the first English-language version of any series in the "L&O" franchise outside of the U.S.

Angela Bromstad, president of international television production at NBC Universal, was involved in the deal, her first major move since taking over the new London-based division in September.

While format rights to the original "L&O" had never been sold internationally, Russia already has launched local versions of "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and France also has its own version of "L&O: CI."

"L&O" had been considered more difficult to translate because of differences in the legal systems in Europe and the U.S.

Wolf previously has indicated a desire to expand the "L&O" brand even further beyond North America and Europe.

"L&O," which had its 18th-season premiere on NBC on Wednesday night, is TV's longest-running crime series and its second-longest-running drama series behind "Gunsmoke."

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