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The network has long intended to bring back the Dick Wolf-produced drama for one final round, allowing the show to top “Gunsmoke” as the longest-running drama in TV history.
But NBC’s testy relationship with Wolf came to head on Thursday when sources say the producer rejected the network’s offer to continue the show at a reduced license fee. Wolf’s office told producers and some cast for the show that the drama was canceled, triggering online reports that the show was finished.
Not so fast, countered some at NBC, which is continuing talks.
As of Friday afternoon, negotiations were set to resume while several key NBC executives were transit to New York City for the network’s upfront presentation on Monday.
There also is the possibility that Wolf could shop the series to cable. TNT tried to pick up rights to “L&O” in 2007, convincing NBC to renew the series and move spinoff “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” to USA Network.
But if NBC can’t afford Wolf’s price tag for the aging show, could a cable network? For TNT, at least, the answer seems to be no, with a network rep saying that Turner is not in talks with Wolf for the show.
If “L&O” departs NBC’s schedule, it’s not much loss to the network. The pickup was seen as, if anything, a bit of a favor in a year that NBC is rekindling relationships with top producers. “L&O” ratings have been dismal, and the network supposedly largely is pleased with its new crop of drama series, which include J.J. Abrams’ “Undercovers” and conspiracy thriller “The Event.”
“Law & Order” isn’t the only NBC show that’s fallen victim to some early cancellation reports. “Heroes” is also touch-and-go, with the network considering different options for bringing back the show, including a shortened season.
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