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Old May 17 2010, 06:10 AM   #121
Timby
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

Andonagio wrote: View Post
So when ratings for Criminal Intent dropped, NBC shifted the show over to USA. Why can't NBC do the same thing with L&O by shifting it over to a cable network such as USA or TNT? What's the difference?
It was more than just re-purposing the show to cable. USA's television production unit took over the responsibilities of Criminal Intent -- and while USA is part of the NBC Universal corporate umbrella, it has its own financial structure and budgetary realities (one of which is that it certainly doesn't have the money to throw around that the NBC broadcast network does).

The move to USA brought a lot of changes to Criminal Intent, the biggest of which was the budget, which was slashed and burned about in half.

The changes in Criminal Intent were noticeable, too; scripts were being rushed into production, high-profile guest stars stopped appearing with regularity, and then cast changes started coming, with Noth being dumped after the seventh season followed by the housecleaning between seasons eight and nine -- and now the recent seasons have been slashed in length, too, from 20-plus episodes to 16. (Granted, Criminal Intent brought some of its own most recent budgetary problems on itself, when Goldblum's first two episodes were tossed and re-shot, a few more scripts were abandoned and Robert Nathan was sacked.)

I don't work at USA, so I can't say for any certainty what would happen to Law & Order if USA were to take over its production, but I doubt we'd like it. Waterston would almost certainly be gone, and who knows what other cast changes would happen? Season lengths would undoubtedly be shorter and any elaborate location shoots would go out the window.

In any event, it doesn't make sense for USA to pick it up. When it grabbed Criminal Intent, it was filling a niche on the channel that was wide open (and the series had the goofy, manic Goren character, and now has the goofy, manic Nichols character). USA's entire programming mantra, nowadays, is "Characters Welcome." I don't see that jiving too well with the "character-proof" mantra that has been Law & Order's calling card since its inception. Furthermore, with Law & Order, it would have two essentially identical shows (one has a half-hour of lawyers, one doesn't, and after that the only difference is casting), one of which (CI) is borderline in popularity, and the other of which has become a ratings albatross in the past year. I'd hate to be a fly on the wall for that meeting.

"We're supposed to start producing another show in New York? In addition to the one we already have? And this new show's pretty much the same show as the first? And no one's watching it on its current channel? Yeah, that's a great idea, sign us up."

TNT is in a similar boat; it just doesn't have the money to throw towards a bunch of additional original drama programming when it already revamped its schedule to focus on such programming, and then made a late decision to start producing another year of Southland -- as opposed to just picking up already-completed episodes of it. (NBC's offer for Law & Order was, supposedly, "In addition to re-upping our deal for re-runs, are you interested in forking over a chunk of the production cash?" Why would TNT agree to that?)

I mean, it sucks. Law & Order is a Monday evening fixture, and I watch the weekday re-runs on TNT religiously. But it's been in a perfect storm: The ratings have become abysmal (partially due to NBC's schedule muckery, partially due to the show being 20 years old) and if NBC can only keep one L&O, then SVU is the only one that makes sense from a financial perspective; TNT almost certainly doesn't have the money to buy it and keep it going; it makes absolutely zero sense for USA to produce it.

Other people have already said this, but I'm not even that bummed-out anymore about there not being a proper series finale. The entire theme of Homicide: Life Everlasting (rather ham-fistedly delivered) was that death, and life, go on and on. That's been the point of Law & Order since the start: Cops and lawyers come and go, but people will always break the law, the police will always catch them, and lawyers will always put them in -- or try to keep them out of -- jail. That point has been made for 20 years. The show doesn't need to awkwardly bring back old characters or assemble a Very Special Finale to make that point.
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Old May 17 2010, 06:38 AM   #122
Dusty Ayres
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
bigdaddy wrote: View Post
Star Wolf wrote: View Post
The series always got into trouble when they tried to add "character" arcs. Ray's wife, Lenny's daughter Van Buran's cancer.
I think the breast cancer storyline is great. It gives life (oddly enough) to the character but doesn't get too much into it.
Van Buren has cervical cancer, not breast cancer.



IIRC, SVU has pretty much always gotten better ratings than the original series. No one knows why for sure but I suspect it's because SVU has some ongoing character arcs which make it more appealing to women, and women are traditionally a more loyal demographic than men. Plus, the original series has never had a strong leading lady like Olivia Benson. (Personally, I've always wanted to see Nana Visitor become a Law & Order regular, either as a detective or as a new Executive ADA.)

OTOH, Criminal Intent has always been the weakest, ratings-wise, of the 3.

As for why they think LOLA will do better in the ratings than the original series, I think they just suspect that the freshness of it being a new series may bring in new viewers who got tired of the old series. It's the same reason why UPN got rid of Star Trek: Voyager in favor of Enterprise and why the Sci-Fi Channel cancelled Stargate Atlantis in favor of Stargate Universe.

I'm willing to give LOLA a chance so long as it follows the cops/lawyers formula of the original series. The lawyers were always my favorite part of the original series and the reason why my favorite spin-offs were Trial by Jury & Conviction. The relative lack of lawyers was the reason why I've had a harder time getting into SVU & Criminal Intent.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Marc wrote: View Post
It would be nice if Dick Wolf turned around said, frakk you to NBC and either canned L&O:LA or took it to another network.
I wonder if USA would be willing to pick up the 'mothership' like they did with CI.
Since Universal owns Law & Order, I seriously doubt that they would allow him to shop it around to CBS or anything like that. However, I do hold out some hope for the show possibly getting picked up by USA or even TNT.

Frankly, if I were NBC, I'd be hedging my bets right now. I'd put LOLA on the fall schedule but keep the original series as a potential mid-season replacement. That way, if LOLA goes down in flames (or a bunch of other new series do and NBC has a lot of holes to fill), they'll still have the reliable ol' original series to fill the void. And if not, they can still ship it over to USA. But what do I know. I'm not an NBC executive.
I don't know if anybody knows this, but L&O is based on a 1963-1964 TV show called Arrest & Trial, also made by NBC Universal Television. Dick Wolf was fond of the show and the format, and used the latter to structure L&O. Here's an article on the show:Arrest & Trial
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Old May 18 2010, 04:01 AM   #123
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

A promo just aired for next week episode and it was just called the "season finale".
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Old May 18 2010, 04:10 AM   #124
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

Squiggy wrote: View Post
A promo just aired for next week episode and it was just called the "season finale".
Shows how much NBC is going to promote Law & Order's series finale--they can't even redo their promos??

Still pretty pissed that they canceled the show...
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Old May 18 2010, 05:08 AM   #125
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

I myself don't like purely police procedural shows. I much prefer the avante garde looks to the crime or cop shows not about the crime at all. I actually don't watch the original LO myself. My sister is the big fan of all the shows, but I've tuned out on SVU since they've practically dumped Munch. I just don't like the way NBC is handling this, and I think this bodes ill for television as a whole. I think execs are more interested in getting 3 or 5 seasons out of a series tops and then pushing the dvds and online content. They aren't concerned about the artist merit and quality of the shows anymore. What's the next longest show on TV-besides The Simpsons, another LO. CSI milks its franchise. Whatever happened to good, unique shows?

I think we should just stop making new shows and show everything that has already been done. Everything is being remade anyway. I'm telling you they will cancel one of the new dramas on LO's place, and then go with reruns of the past two seasons of LO or show some of the older crossover or big eps.
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Old May 18 2010, 06:13 AM   #126
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

I was just reading the wiki on Jeff Zucker. There's some very choice quotes about this guy!

columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that in Hollywood “there has been a single topic of discussion: How does Jeff Zucker keep rising and rising while the fortunes of NBC keep falling and falling? ...many in the Hollywood community have always regarded him as ...a network Napoleon who never bothered to learn about developing shows and managing talent." She explained that Zucker "is a master at managing up with bosses and calculating cost-per-hour benefits, but even though he made money on cable shows, he could not program network to save his life."

Wewy Intewesting!
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Old May 18 2010, 09:44 AM   #127
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

There are some rumours that Dick Wolf is trying to get TNT to pick up the show. Here's an article about it, in which he says that the series is "in a medically induced coma, waiting for a life-saving medicine". I wonder if there's any chance of it happening, or if this is just wishful thinking on Wolf's part.
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Old May 18 2010, 04:14 PM   #128
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

L&O has been on life support for years. The scripts have become not only predictable but absolutely ludicrous. The show used to at least make an effort to be believable (and to get the law right). It also used to be filled with wonderful New York types, now they may as well be filming on a sound stage in L.A.
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Old May 18 2010, 04:18 PM   #129
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

Daneel wrote: View Post
There are some rumours that Dick Wolf is trying to get TNT to pick up the show. Here's an article about it, in which he says that the series is "in a medically induced coma, waiting for a life-saving medicine". I wonder if there's any chance of it happening, or if this is just wishful thinking on Wolf's part.
Never will happen because NBC will actually have to sign off on any switch over like they had to with Southland.

And the show the last two or so seasons has really picked up, there were several years there when the show was crap but once McCoy became DA (Did they ever explain how?) the show has gotten a lot better.
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Old May 18 2010, 04:44 PM   #130
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
The scripts have become not only predictable but absolutely ludicrous.
That's a better description of SVU, which has become utterly batshit insane, than Vanilla.
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Old May 18 2010, 05:11 PM   #131
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

bigdaddy wrote: View Post
McCoy became DA (Did they ever explain how?)
He was appointed DA after Arthur Branch retired, then won the subsequent election.
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Old May 18 2010, 05:49 PM   #132
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
bigdaddy wrote: View Post
McCoy became DA (Did they ever explain how?)
He was appointed DA after Arthur Branch retired, then won the subsequent election.

Oh thanks, I didn't know about the election, I figured they just appointed him and forgot about an election.
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Old May 18 2010, 11:22 PM   #133
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
L&O has been on life support for years. The scripts have become not only predictable but absolutely ludicrous.
Lies! Law and Order has taught me everything I know about life and is the basis for my reality.
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Old May 19 2010, 12:12 AM   #134
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

bigdaddy wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
bigdaddy wrote: View Post
McCoy became DA (Did they ever explain how?)
He was appointed DA after Arthur Branch retired, then won the subsequent election.

Oh thanks, I didn't know about the election, I figured they just appointed him and forgot about an election.
They never actually showed the election, just the buildup to it. McCoy's opponent was all over the TV, but eventually had to withdraw because of the scandal involving the NY Governor. McCoy may have, then, ran unopposed.
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Old May 19 2010, 12:38 AM   #135
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Re: NBC cancels Law & Order

Timby wrote: View Post
Andonagio wrote: View Post
So when ratings for Criminal Intent dropped, NBC shifted the show over to USA. Why can't NBC do the same thing with L&O by shifting it over to a cable network such as USA or TNT? What's the difference?
It was more than just re-purposing the show to cable. USA's television production unit took over the responsibilities of Criminal Intent -- and while USA is part of the NBC Universal corporate umbrella, it has its own financial structure and budgetary realities (one of which is that it certainly doesn't have the money to throw around that the NBC broadcast network does).

The move to USA brought a lot of changes to Criminal Intent, the biggest of which was the budget, which was slashed and burned about in half.

The changes in Criminal Intent were noticeable, too; scripts were being rushed into production, high-profile guest stars stopped appearing with regularity, and then cast changes started coming, with Noth being dumped after the seventh season followed by the housecleaning between seasons eight and nine -- and now the recent seasons have been slashed in length, too, from 20-plus episodes to 16. (Granted, Criminal Intent brought some of its own most recent budgetary problems on itself, when Goldblum's first two episodes were tossed and re-shot, a few more scripts were abandoned and Robert Nathan was sacked.)

I don't work at USA, so I can't say for any certainty what would happen to Law & Order if USA were to take over its production, but I doubt we'd like it. Waterston would almost certainly be gone, and who knows what other cast changes would happen? Season lengths would undoubtedly be shorter and any elaborate location shoots would go out the window.
I could deal with that. While I like McCoy, I could live without him so long as they brought back Cutter. I like the other characters but I have no special attachment to Bernard. Van Buren is probably a goner anyway. Ideally, I'd like them to keep Lupo but I'm flexible. Rubirosa is dead sexy but I wouldn't be surprised if she left soon regardless. 4 years is pretty much the maximum for an ADA. (Kincaid & Southerlyn are the only others that lasted nearly that long.) Actually, I was surprised that Rubirosa & McCoy came back for Season 20. I was convinced that they were using the reelection storyline in Season 19 as a way to get rid of them. (I also think it would have been interesting seeing how Cutter would get along with the new DA considering how loyal he was to McCoy.)

A shorter season would be disappointing, but 13 is still more than 0.

I'll admit location shooting could be a problem. That's something of a fixed cost for the show. The location shoots aren't elaborate but they are an integral part of the 1st half of the episodes-- Lupo & Bernard running around the city interviewing witnesses.

High profile guest stars aren't a problem. Law & Order rarely has them anyway. Certainly not to the degree that SVU does (Robin Williams, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molina, Bradley Cooper, Lindsay Lohan, etc.).

winged victory wrote: View Post
Squiggy wrote: View Post
A promo just aired for next week episode and it was just called the "season finale".
Shows how much NBC is going to promote Law & Order's series finale--they can't even redo their promos??

Still pretty pissed that they canceled the show...
Or it means that they are hedging their bets, either keeping it in the back of their minds as a potential mid-season replacement if LOLA fails or if Universal can sell the show to TNT. (And whereas NBC had a motive to stifle Warner Bros. by mucking up TNT's deal for Southland, NBC/Universal stands to make money if they can get another network to pick up Law & Order.) Universal might even be able to sweeten the deal if they also throw in a first crack at the LOLA reruns.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
bigdaddy wrote: View Post
McCoy became DA (Did they ever explain how?)
He was appointed DA after Arthur Branch retired, then won the subsequent election.
Did they ever explain what Branch was going to do? I always got the sense that he was aspiring to higher political office. Perhaps he made a failed run at Attorney General or Congress or something. Whatever it was, it can't have worked, because there was a recent episode where they talked about him being the judge on a reality TV show.
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