|Does "Law & Order" speak the universal language?|
Universal TV and series creator Dick Wolf think it can. Wolf and the studio are looking into the idea of producing foreign versions of the acclaimed drama series with local actors and storylines tailored to highlight distinctive aspects of each country's legal system.
Although the concept of foreign "Law & Order" franchises is still in the early development stages, Wolf is already thinking about casting.
"I'd love to do the show in England with Robbie Coltrane ("Cracker") and Helen Mirren as the prosecutor. I'd sure watch that show," Wolf told about 200 early-rising NATPE attendees who turned out Tuesday morning for the "Coffee With Dick Wolf" session.
During the free-wheeling Q&A session, the ever-outspoken Wolf conceded that it's been rough going so far for his frosh NBC drama "Players."
"It's very very hard to get the audience's attention for a new show now," he said, noting that Fox's much-praised David E. Kelley drama "Ally McBeal" has been the exception to the rule this season.
" 'Ally McBeal' is an unusual situation. Fox declared that it was a hit (early in the season) when it was doing a 9 share. And lo and behold, it became a hit," Wolf said. "Maybe there's a lesson here."
Looking ahead to the remainder of this season and beyond, Wolf said there will likely be another crossover episode of "Law & Order" with its fellow NBC crime drama "Homicide: Life on the Street."
But what's fun for the fans is "a huge pain in the ass" for producers of both shows, Wolf said.
"It's really hard coordinating two different productions in two different cities," he said. "But the actors really like it and the writers really like it. It gives them a chance to use different muscles and get into different rhythms."
Coming up on NBC next season is a two-hour movie with "Law & Order's" Chris Noth playing the same Det. Mike Logan character, only after he's been banished to Staten Island after taking a swing at a New York City councilman.
"The movie revolves around Chris getting a murder case that he's convinced is the vehicle he needs to get back to Manhattan."
Wolf says he's hopeful "Law & Order" character and storyline extensions will become a regular movie franchise for NBC and Universal.