'Law & Order' scribe inks three-year deal
Former “Law & Order” showrunner Rene Balcer has inked a three-year, high-seven-figure development deal with Studios USA.Balcer — who wrote more than 70 episodes of “Law & Order” during his 10 years as a writer-producer on the long-running NBC drama — will create, develop and produce drama programming for the studio as part of the pact. In addition, Balcer is expected to be named exec producer and showrunner of NBC’s upcoming spinoff skein, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” “Rene is an integral part of this studio’s future, and it’s a great pleasure to continue our long relationship with this uniquely talented producer,” said Studios USA programming prexy David Kissinger. “Rene is a masterful storyteller who was vital in bringing ‘Law & Order’ to its greatest success creatively and in terms of popularity. We are convinced that Rene will create a show of equal quality and impact on his own,” he added. New deal will kick in next summer, after Balcer’s current pact with Studios USA expires. Scribe said he was glad to continue what has become “a very good partnership” with Kissinger. “I’ve had a great working relationship with the studio. There’s no reason to bail out,” Balcer said. “I only see great things in the future.” Since leaving “Law & Order” last year, Balcer has been working on the CBS pilot “Hopewell.” Skein was developed for this fall and is now a midseason contender for the web. Balcer signed on with “Law & Order” during the show’s first season in 1990. He was upped to showrunner and head writer in 1996. During his four-year run as exec producer, “Law & Order” became a top 10 series and won its first outstanding drama Emmy award. Balcer’s other small screen credits include the series “Nasty Boys” and the telepics “Out on the Edge” and “Stranger in the Family.” Deal was brokered by attorney Don Walerstein of Rohner & Walerstein.