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NBC Sues Dick Wolf over Contract L&Oophole

Dick Wolf by Maury Phillips/WireImage.com

NBC has sued Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, seeking no monetary damages but instead asking the Los Angeles Superior Court for an interpretation of a contract provision that both sides have been disputing since September.According to Variety, NBC contends that an agreement inked in 2004 provides Wolf with one additional year of executive-producer fees after any L&O incarnation is granted its final one-season order. Or, if the last order from NBC is for two seasons, Wolf gets no extra coin. Wolf, though, believes he is entitled to a full two-year severance package once a L&O is not renewed. Says a Wolf rep, "NBC Universal is trying to rewrite an existing contract." read more

In the Works: Dick Wolf Plays with 300-esque Dynamite

Dick Wolf is teaming with director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) and writer J.H. Wyman (Keen Eddie) on a comic-book-style drama that will use the same green-screen effects as the hit feature film 300. The subject matter: Johnny Dynamite, a graphic-novel character who discovers Satan living in Las Vegas. (Gee, surprise.).... Also per Variety, Fox has given a pilot order to a procedural centered on an ex-cop with the uncanny ability to suss out a liar. No, his name is not Angela.... Comedy Central has ordered new seasons of Mind of Mencia and Lil' Bush, each to premiere next spring. read more

In the Works: "Law & Order: I Sue You" and More

Law & Order auteur Dick Wolf has set up his first project under NBC chair Ben Silverman, teaming with Friday Night Lights scribe David Hudgins on a "medical-legal hybrid" revolving around two brothers who are senior partners in a medical malpractice law firm. Until about five years ago, variety notes, Hudgins was just such a lawyer.... NBC isn't afraid of The Interrogator, a quiz show from Biggest Loser e.p. J.D. Roth. premise: Five contestants campaign for peeks inside one of five safes, one of which holds big money. The title character then grills the players on what they saw.... Bravo has greenlit Step It Up, a reality competition in which dancers from across the country are challenged to master "every conceivable dance style, from ballet and Broadway to ballroom and burlesque." Britney, step away.... read more

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

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