NBC has scrapped 11th hour plans to save “Law and Order,” which has been cancelled after 20 seasons.
Peacock simultaneously confirmed that it remains deep in the Dick Wolf business, picking up “Law and Order: Los Angeles,” commonly known as “LOLA.” “Law and Order: SVU” also secured a pickup.
News came a day after word leaked that “Law and Order” would be canceled. But Wolf and NBC were still in talks late Thursday, and it appeared possible the show might be saved.
In the end, though, NBC opted to go out with the old and in with the new.
“Law and Order” will now conclude its 20th season on Monday, May 24, at 10 p.m. with a series finale.
But that won’t quite be the end for “Law.” The network said it plans to talk to Wolf after the upfronts about finding a way of providing the show more closure.
That might include bringing the “Law and Order” characters on to “LOLA’s” premiere episode, offering a passing of the torch. Or “Law and Order” could always wrap with a TV movie. Wolf so far is keeping mum about the situation, though it’s no secret that he is angry about how the decision was unfolded. In a brief statement issued Friday, Wolf said: “Never complain. Never explain.”
“The full measure of the collective contributions made by Dick Wolf and his ‘Law & Order’ franchise over the last two decades to the success of NBC and Universal Media Studios cannot be overstated,” said NBC U TV Ent. Chairman Jeff Gaspin. ” The legacy of his original ‘Law & Order’ series will continue to make an impact like no other series before.”
Added NBC primetime entertainment topper Angela Bromstad: “‘Law & Order’ has been one of the most successful franchises in the history of television, which is why it is so critical that we continue this important brand and our relationship with Dick Wolf and his team with ‘LOLA’ and ‘Law & Order: SVU.'” According to insiders, talks went deep into Thursday night to keep “Law and Order” alive, and give it some sort of brief order. But various creative, scheduling and financial models didn’t pan out.
NBC U had apparently been hoping that Turner might step in and foot the bill for some first-run segs, but TNT — which made a play for the show in 2007 — wasn’t interested this time.
“Law and Order” is already produced efficiently, so attempts to bring down costs were also difficult to pull off.
In the end, it appears that “Law and Order” may not be able to beat “Gunsmoke’s” 20 season record, and will have to settle for a tie.
“LOLA” will follow a similar crime drama structure to “Law and Order” — but this time on the streets of L.A. Wolf and Blake Masters (“Brotherhood”) are exec producers. Show is still being cast.