Balcer returning to 'Law' as exec producer

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NEW YORK -- Rene Balcer is returning to "Law & Order" as executive producer on the West Coast as the longtime NBC drama returns for its 18th season.

The Emmy-winning writer/producer had left the show several years ago to develop and executive produce "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." But with "Law & Order" getting renewed and "Criminal Intent" going to USA Network for its first run next season, Balcer is returning to "the mothership."

He will replace Nicolas Wooten.

"Law & Order" creator/executive producer Dick Wolf said that it's almost 20 years since he and Balcer began to work together.

"Rene's talent has been manifest since the first season of 'Law & Order.' It was under his watch that the show won the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award and his work on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' was groundbreaking," Wolf said in a statement. "Rene's return to 'Law & Order' signals a creative renaissance on the mothership that should carry us closer to my ultimate goal of beating 'Gunsmoke.'"
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