Network books 16 new episodes of legal drama

USA Network has booked another 16 segs of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” which has shifted its production home base from Universal Media Studios to the newly created NBC U Cable Studio headed by USA/Sci Fi Channel boss Bonnie Hammer.

Second spinoff of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” franchise moved to USA last year after six seasons on NBC; USA had already carried repeats of “Criminal Intent” from its run on the Peacock.

USA and U Media Studios are in the midst of hammering out new deals with “Criminal Intent” principal cast members — including Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Noth, Eric Bogosian, Julianne Nicholson and Kathryn Erbe — and showrunner Warren Leight for the eighth season.

Cabler opted to break up the show’s seventh season into two parts, with 10 segs running on Thursdays last fall and a fresh batch set to debut next month.The firstrun “Criminal Intent” segs performed well for USA in the fall, averaging about 4.1 million viewers and about 2 million adults 18-49.

“We not only forged new ground with its launch on USA last October, but we also succeeded in delivering to our viewers some of the finest writing and acting on television,” said Hammer, who was promoted to NBC U Cable Entertainment and Cable Studio prexy two months ago (Daily Variety, March 26).

Wolf, who fought hard to move “Criminal Intent” to USA last year after the show seemed on the fence for renewal by NBC, said he was grateful to Hammer and USA original programming chief Jeff Wachtel for their support of the show.

Segs from the seventh season wound up being repurposed this year on NBC, partly because the writers strike cut into the Peacock’s store of scripted programming in the first and second quarters. Show may continue to have a second run on NBC.

For the summer run of “Criminal Intent” that begins June 8, show will move to the 9 p.m. Sunday slot and serve as a launchpad for USA’s latest original drama, “In Plain Sight,” which bows the same night at 10. “Sight” stars Mary McCormack as a U.S. marshal working for the federal witness protection program.

In addition to Leight and Wolf, exec producers on “Criminal Intent” are Peter Jankowski and Norberto Barba.

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