With the NBC Universal merger just days away from closing, Peacock execs are racing to close another boffo, potentially billion-dollar deal: a blockbuster pact with Dick Wolf extending the life of all three installments of the “Law & Order” franchise.
Agreement would also clear the way for “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” while — just as importantly — keeping Wolf based at NBC Universal for years to come.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months, but they’ve stepped up in recent weeks, with top-level NBC brass — including chairman-CEO Bob Wright — playing key roles. NBC is hoping to close an agreement by May 17, the day it announces its fall schedule to advertisers.
NBC would like to formally announce the fourth “L&O” to advertisers. But there’s also urgency since the Peacock’s deal for “Law & Order: SVU” expires at the end of this season.
It’s unclear what exact figures are on the table, but all three returning skeins will likely be renewed for at least two or more seasons. Add up all of the license fees for the three shows, spread it out over several years, and industry insiders have been expecting for some time that NBC will end up with a deal worth north of $1 billion.
Along with the show deal would be a pact keeping Wolf Films at NBC U.
Even though NBC and U are still separate companies for a few more days, Wolf’s reps — UTA and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie — are intimately involved in every aspect of the deal to ensure Wolf and the “L&O” franchise get their full due.
NBC and U declined comment, while Wolf, via a rep, said he’s always considered it best that negotiations “not take place in the press.”