‘Order’ defies law of averages

Wolf calls series 'comfort for the mind'

After 13 years, two successful spinoffs, another season ranked in the top 10 and 11 consecutive Emmy nominations for best drama (including a win in 1997), no other show can match the endurance of the ageless “Law & Order.” And an argument could be made that the “L&O” franchise has been more important to the Peacock than even “Friends.”

“The impact this show has had for us and for television overall is just tremendous,” said NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker at a recent press conference honoring the show’s 300th episode. “The cast, writing, production — everything about ‘Law & Order’ keeps getting better. We’re proud, and fortunate, to have this show on our schedule.”

“It’s visual nicotine, a comfort food for the mind,” notes “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf. “By sticking to a stand-alone formula where the story is resolved at the end of each episode viewers are never disappointed.”

“Law & Order” continues to thrive creatively. And if another Emmy nomination in the drama series category comes calling this year, the series will become the most consecutively Emmy-nominated series in primetime history.

Right now, it is tied with “Cheers” and “MASH” at 11 straight nominations. Second among dramas is “ER” with seven.

“‘Law & Order’ is synonymous with quality,” notes Brad Adgate, senior VP of corporate research at Horizon Media. “And unlike most shows that start going downhill after a certain number of years, ongoing cast changes coupled with consistency in the storytelling makes the success of this show unprecedented. No other series has held up this well for this long.”

Michael Chernuchin, “Law & Order’s” exec producer, showrunner and head writer, who worked on the series from the beginning through 1996, returned this season after a six-year absence.

“I left because I thought there was nothing else for me to say,” he says, “but after working on a number of different series (‘Brooklyn South,’ ‘Bull,’ ’24’), I realized there is no better arena for telling a story than ‘Law & Order.’ Sometimes you don’t realize how good something is until you step away from the situation. Now that I’m back I appreciate every moment.”