Stephanie March, Conviction
Tonight at 10 pm/ET, NBC premieres Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's latest legal drama. Set inside the New York City district attorney's office, Conviction even breathes new life into a onetime Law & Order: SVU player, Stephanie March, who is reprising her role of assistant district attorney Alexandra Cabot. How will Conviction set itself apart from other procedurals — including Wolf's own? And how is it that Alex was able to come out of hiding in the Federal Witness Protection program? TVGuide.com asked March those questions and more.
TVGuide.com: When you left SVU, did you ever have any inkling that Alexandra Cabot might return on either that show o
Question: What's this I'm hearing about someone leaving Law & Order?
Answer: It's true. Dick Wolf told Newsweek that he's planning another major cast change next season. My guess is it's either Sam Waterston or Jesse L. Martin, mostly because their characters are rumored to be closeted lesbians and well, we know what happens to them on L&O.
Question: I'm a big fan of the Law & Order franchise (more of Law & Order: SVU than the original), but I was wondering what the chances are that the new series Conviction will survive on Friday nights. Trial by Jury didn't do very well in that time slot, and, speaking as a future prosecutor, I'm very optimistic about this show. I was just wondering if you think it will do well or not, and if you've seen more than just the previews of the show in order to form an opinion about it. Thanks.
Answer: Hard to know if it will survive on Fridays. Special Victims Unit did very well there, but that was before CBS found a winning formula for the night. I know I would much rather watch Numbers than Conviction, which seems to me a very clumsy effort by Dick Wolf to try to make a David E. Kelley-style series. (My review of Conviction will appear in the next issue of TV Guide, out later this week.) It may depend on how well Las Vegas survives the transfer to Fridays. If Vegas boosts NBC's Friday
The fun (and confusion) never stops as the networks continue scrambling their schedules, with a new wave of mid-season changes kicking in the instant the Olympics and February sweeps conclude.
As a helpful guide to get you through the exhausting month of March, here's a night-by-night rundown of what to expect (until the next changes are announced):
March 1: After a 90-minute American Idol, Fox airs a preview of quasi-improvised slacker sitcom Free Ride (it will regularly air on Sundays starting March 12, replacing American Dad for a while). Invasion is preempted for the annual Oscar-themed Barbara Walters Special, which for the first time is not airing on Oscar night.
Prolific producer Dick Wolf, who already has three Law & Order flavors on the tube and has a new NBC series, Conviction, premiering March 3, is now at work on a fifth legal drama. Power, a pilot unlikely to be ready in time for fall 2006, will follow a task force of federal agents and U.S. attorneys sniffing around major Hollywood movers and shakers.
Actor-rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, a part of Crash's SAG- and Critics Choice Award-winning ensemble cast (as well as a costar of the also-acclaimed Hustle & Flow), will guest-star on NBC's Law & Order: SVU on March 28, playing a nephew of Ice-T's Detective Fin Tutuola. "I have been a fan of Dick Wolf's Law & Order for a long time," Bridges says in a statement. "There was no way that I could turn down this amazing opportunity."
Question: With Stephanie March starring in Dick Wolf's new show, Conviction, will they reintroduce her character on Law & Order: SVU first?
Answer: Nope. Alex Cabot will go directly from witness protection to Conviction — although the specifics of her release will not be a major plot point. "We're not going to dwell on something that happened three years ago on [SVU]," says Dick Wolf. "Will it be mentioned? I mean, we would be brain-dead if we assumed that nobody who was a fan of SVU is going to watch [Conviction]. So, we're not going to ignore it."
Law & Order: SVU's Ice-T and Christopher Meloni
Actor-rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, a part of Crash's SAG- and Critics Choice Award-winning ensemble cast (as well as a costar of the also-acclaimed Hustle & Flow) will guest-star on NBC's Law & Order: SVU on March 28, playing a nephew of Ice-T's Detective "Fin" Tutuola. "I have been a fan of Dick Wolf's Law & Order for a long time," Bridges says in a statement. "There was no way that I could turn down this amazing opportunity."
Question: I wanted to know your take on NBC's scheduling changes after the Olympics. I personally think that NBC may be putting itself in a grave situation. First I need to talk about the moving of Law & Order to Wednesdays, an hour earlier, at 9 pm/ET. This is a horrible time slot considering its competition. I have to give up Law & Order because I already tape Veronica Mars while I watch Lost. Again Scrubs was denied a Thursday time slot (post-Earl when The Office ends in March). And I feel that NBC is trying to annoy Dick Wolf. First, Trial by Jury was canceled, they move Law & Order to Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET and now they are airing Conviction Fridays at 10 pm/ET (the same slot as Trial by Jury) when they should pair it with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since many SVU fans are going to watch because of Stephanie March reprising her role as Alexandra Cabot. Also, Deal or No Deal and The Apprentice are the lead-ins to the underappreciated Medium. They should have kept
I'm often quick to criticize NBC when it blunders, which sometimes seems like a full-time job. And it's pretty clear the network is still far from perfect — witness the bungling of The Book of Daniel, buried on Fridays where low ratings would almost certainly have doomed it, even without a religious-right protest that scared away spineless advertisers.
But when NBC does something right, as in a series of aggressive moves announced over the weekend, it seems only right to take notice. Among the highlights:
Ta-ta, West Wing: Calling it quits was inevitable, but even so, I feared that NBC would, out of desperation, try to keep the franchise going after President Bartlet passes the torch to his successor. Thankfully, that will not be the case, and the show will wrap up with a retrospective and series final