The prolific producer and his Wolf Entertainment label have signed a mammoth five-year extension to his deal at Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios, which sources say is worth nine figures. Universal TV has been Wolf’s studio home for the last 36 years.
News of the deal comes just over a month after Wolf struck another significant pact with NBCU, on that occasion for the streaming rights to his catalogue, including more than 1,000 episodes of “Law & Order” plus spinoffs “SVU” and “Criminal Intent,” as well as his trilogy of NBC “Chicago” dramas.
Speaking of the “Chiacgo” trifecta, all three shows have been handed three-year pickups by NBC as part of the new deal. Not to miss out on the party, “SVU” has also cashed in from the lucrative deal with a three-season renewal commitment of its own. The pickup will take the series, which is already the longest-running primetime live-action show in U.S. TV history, through a historic 24th season.
“I’m gratified and excited that Universal will remain our home for five more years,” said Wolf. “This new term deal complements our recently concluded agreement to make Peacock one of the primary destinations for both the ‘L&O’ and ‘Chicago’ brands, as well as our extraordinary three-year NBC broadcast pickups on all four current series. We are now supercharged to expand our business on new platforms, both domestically and internationally, while continuing to produce our current and future series for broadcasting and streaming networks.”
The pact between Wolf and NBCU reportedly also includes multiple series commitments.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Dick over the decades and it goes without saying he remains one of the most influential producers in history,” said Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios. “He is a visionary unlike any other whose impact has changed the entire television landscape. We’re beyond thrilled to have Dick and his team remain in the NBCUniversal family for many years to come.”
It’s worth noting that the catalogue of Wolf shows are not exclusive to Peacock. The mothership “Law & Order” series, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 2010, will not offer all 456 episodes upon the streamer’s forthcoming launch due to the rights being tied up in pre-existing deals. However, Peacock will be the first to offer the three main “L&O” series in one place.
“The significance of having Dick Wolf remain at Universal Television can’t be overstated,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television. “Dick has proven himself masterful at building successful, iconic brands and telling gripping, intelligent and thought-provoking stories. It’s an honor and pleasure to be a part of the Wolf Pack for the next five years. We’re also grateful to NBC for their continued support of the ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Chicago’ drama series.”
The deal also comes right off the back of a strong ratings showing from a crossover between “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.,” which produced multi-week viewership highs for both. Wolf’s “Chicago” trio currently sit in second, third and fourth on the list of most-watched NBC shows this season behind only “This Is Us,” which itself received a quasi-unprecedented triple season renewal last year. “Fire” is averaging 11.4 million total viewers after seven days of delayed viewing, followed closely by “Med” and “P.D.” with around 11 million each.
“Dick Wolf has proven time and time again that he makes shows audiences love,” added NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy. “We are delighted, excited and proud that as part of this epic deal with Wolf Entertainment, NBC’s loyal audience will know that their favorite shows have a certain future for the next three years.”
Wolf is repped by Cliff Gilbert-Lurie at Ziffren Brittenham and WME.