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I'm baffled. Why would a ...

Question: I'm baffled. Why would a seasoned actor like Sam Waterston essentially accept a demotion to be the DA on Law & Order? It makes no sense for a veteran actor like Waterston to be reduced to a minimal role. The DA, even when the excellent Steven Hill was on the show, usually has only a few scenes, if that, discussing the case and advising on strategy or when to cut a deal. As DA, Waterston won't have his usual scenes bickering with defense lawyers, grilling hostile witnesses and suspects, and making courtroom appearances to argue arcane points of law, much less trial scenes with juicy cross-examinations. It strikes me as absurd for Waterston to agree to be relegated to a walk-on role. It would be like making Dennis Franz lieutenant prior to the end of NYPD Blue. Franz would never have agreed to such a move. So why did Waterston? Answer: You're assuming he had a choice. The show is going through what Dick Wolf calls "one of its major renovations of the past 10 years." Earlier this ... read more

Emmy Nominees React to Their Golden Opportunities

Rainn Wilson, Neil Patrick Harris and Sally Field are among this year's Emmy nominees.

We know what you think about the nominees for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards, but what do the lucky nominees have to say about their good fortune? Some of your favorites reveal what went through their minds as the good news got out. Doug Ellin, executive producer of Entourage (Outstanding Comedy Series nominee) "The New York Times called Entourage the best show in its first season. If for some reason [the voters] appreciate it more and we win this time, there's nothing we've consciously done to change it.... I spoke to Jeremy [Piven], who's in London doing a movie, and I'm playing golf with Kevin [Dillon] in about two hours. Jeremy is kind of our home-run hitter, I knew he was going to get nominated, and when Kevin and Martin Landau also got nominated, it was just great." Tim Kring, executi read more

Batman's Dad Is Law & Order's New Crusader

Sam Waterston by Virginia Sherwood/NBC Photo, Linus Roache by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com

NBC and Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf announced on Tuesday that British thesp Linus Roache (Kidnapped, Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins) will join the long-running procedural this season in the capacity of executive assistant district attorney — the office formerly held by Sam Waterston's Jack McCoy, who is now the full-on DA. "I've known Linus' work for several years. He is an actor who totally gets inside his roles," Wolf says in a statement. "I think he and Sam are going to raise the bar and add intellect and passion in the back half of the show." RELATED: Law & Order pulls reruns featuring Fred Thompson. read more

Well, you gotta hand it to ...

Question: Well, you gotta hand it to Dick Wolf. He may be kind of a jerk, an egomaniac and far from the most artistically minded producer in the business, but he sure is a shrewd businessman. I was just about certain that he wasn't going to find a way to keep all three shows on the air, yet he did. Now what do you make of the prospects of a network drama becoming a first-run cable show, with a 22-episode order no less? As far as I know, this has never happened before. If it turns out to be successful, might other networks try transferring shows with mediocre ratings to cable subsidiaries? Might Fox trying sending one of its low-rated dramas to FX? Might CBS give some of its well-liked but low-rated sitcoms tryouts on Comedy Central? Or is this situation just due to a series of unique circumstances that wouldn't really apply to other networks? Answer: From the way you posed the question, I think you already know the answer. The fact that all three Law & Order shows are still alive and ... read more

NBC Renews Original L&O; Criminal Intent Goes to USA

The long-running drama series Law & Order avoided the death penalty Sunday when creator Dick Wolf and NBC reached a deal to bring the series back for 22 episodes next season.Law & Order, which had slumped to all-time low numbers, was in danger of seeing its reign as the longest running scripted series on television end at 17 seasons. But NBC announced the pick-up along with a larger deal with Wolf, whose Wolf Films had its agreement with NBC Universal extended through 2012.NBC also agreed to pick up a full 22-episode order Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The show has always been the weakest ship in the L&O fleet, but repeats are typically among the highest rated shows on NBCU’s USA Network. As such, Criminal Intent's new season will have its first run on USA and then be repeated on NBC, reversing the terms of the previous arrangement.During a conference call with reporters, Wolf said there will be some “belt-tightening” for the two shows, which had seen... read more

NBC Still Refusing to Order More Law

Jesse L. Martin by Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Can you imagine NBC without Law & Order? I mean, isn't that like Sesame Street without Big Bird? Donald Trump without the combover? American Idol without the hype? But it could actually happen. According to the Hollywood Reporter, a month into their negotiations, the network and series creator Dick Wolf have yet to agree on a deal to bring back the original L&O and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (which, OK, I can picture NBC without). What's more, they aren't expected to make a final decision until May. Isn't all this going to make it awfully hard for Vincent D'Onofrio to start auditioning for that shiny, happy 7th Heaven spin-off? read more

In the Works: Dick Wolf Eyes Hired-killer Cops

Law & Order's Dick Wolf and NBC Universal are developing a series based on The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia, a book about the investigation of two NYPDers convicted of killing for an organized crime family, Variety reports.... AMC's development slate includes the miniseries Against the Guns of Quantrill (Confederate prisoners defend a Union town) and Berlin Mesa (centered on FBI and Nazi prisoners in the southwest U.S.).... Per Reuters, the BBC is teaming with Live Aid founder Bob Geldof on what is described as "the biggest sociological and anthropological project in the history of the world," aiming to accomplish no less than to record the history of every human society on the planet. (Oh, another of those.) The TV-Internet endeavor will include an eight-part, hi-def series called The Human Planet. read more

Dick Wolf's Intent? To Save Two Law & Orders

As relayed to you here over the weekend, both the original Law & Order and Criminal Intent are on the bubble as NBC ponders which shows to bring back for the fall. According to the trades, NBC has begun talks with the producers of the mother ship — whose ratings are down 20 percent versus a year ago — regarding a possible 18th season, provided the license fee paid by the network can be reduced.Though a sweeter deal could be arrived at were franchise creator Dick Wolf to cut above-the-line costs on the lagging L&Os, perhaps by reducing roles for veteran players, insiders tell Variety that may not suffice, and believe one of two will simply be axed. Via a spokesperson, Wolf tells Variety, "I'm hopeful all three shows will be back." read more

Please, please, please, tell ...

Question: Please, please, please, tell me there's no truth to the rumors that Law & Order: SVU might be canceled because of some dumb issue over paychecks!


Answer: I can pretty much guarantee you that it won't be canceled, but it could return next fall with two new leads if NBC doesn't cave into Chris and Mariska's financial demands. A Peacock source I spoke with remains confident that both stars will ultimately be taken "very good care of," but notes that Dick Wolf isn't likely to break the bank since Law & Order shows have been able to weather cast shake-ups before. However, the actors' camps will probably argue that SVU isn't like other L&O shows, where the leads take a backseat to the stories. Chris and Mariska are SVU, and the stories take a backseat to them, as their agents will no doubt contend. And on that point, I have t read more

Law Order: CI's Julianne Nicholson Sheds Her Badge and Much More

Julianne Nicholson with Justin Kirk in Flannel Pajamas

A veteran of such short-lived series as The Others, Presidio Med and last season's ADA dud, Conviction, Julianne Nicholson has finally found steady employment as Chris Noth's seemingly omniscient partner on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Before landing her breakthrough gig as Detective Megan Wheeler on the NBC stalwart, the freckle-faced beauty starred in a slew of indie flicks, including Flannel Pajamas, which opens today in New York. Reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, the film chronicles the roller-coaster romance between Nicole (Nicholson) and Stuart (Weeds' read more

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