|Producer Dick Wolf’s original “Law & Order” series ran for 20 seasons and became one of the highest-grossing TV franchises of all time.|
Wolf’s latest spinoff, “Law & Order: L.A.” will end after one season.
The drama’s quick cancellation by Comcast Corp.’s NBC marks the latest blow to Wolf’s signature legal shows. Last spring after weeks of tense negotiations NBC pulled the plug on the original. Spinoff “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” which moved to NBC Universal’s cable unit USA in 2007 will conclude this summer after ten seasons.
The decision to kill “Law & Order: L.A.” signals recently-named Chairman of NBC Entertainment Bob Greenblatt’s desire to put his own stamp on NBC and not rely too heavily on powerful producers who have created hits in the past. NBC rejected a “Wonder Woman” pilot by “Ally McBeal” creator David E. Kelley, though the network did renew his drama “Harry’s Law.” Last season NBC tried to rebuild prime-time with series by JJ Abrams (“Lost”) and Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI”). Both shows flopped.
“At this time there are no conversations about another ‘Law & Order’,” Greenblatt said on a conference call Sunday.
Rick Rosen, head of TV at William-Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Wolf’s agent, says his client does not blame NBC and that Greenblatt is a “realist” who would’ve kept the series if it were higher rated. Mr. Rosen says Mr. Wolf is working on some non-“Law & Order” franchises. “He’s a storyteller. He’ll keep doing that,” he says.
Wolf’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is still a solid 10pm performer for NBC with an average of around 9 million viewers per episode, according to Nielsen Co. Greenblatt says lead actors Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni will return for at least one more season.
Through a spokeswoman Wolf declined to comment.
An expensive hour-long drama with such big-name actors as Alfred Molina and Terrence Howard, “Law & Order: L.A.” (known as “LOLA”) was picked up around this time last year in part to appease Wolf who has had a decades-long relationship with Universal Media Studios.
In January the show went on hiatus. Greenblatt personally weighed in on creative re-jiggering including replacing the lead actor Skeet Ulrich. But the drama returned earlier this month to disappointing ratings of 6 million viewers per episode, down 32% from before the retooling, according to Nielsen Co.