Rene Balcer, who left the original Law & Order several years ago to develop and exec-produce Criminal Intent, is returning to the mother ship as an e.p. In a statement, Dick Wolf says, "Rene's return signals a creative renaissance... that should carry us closer to my ultimate goal of beating Gunsmoke" - which at 20 seasons holds the record for TV's longest-running drama.... Writer-producer Jeff Rake has inked a new deal with Sony Pictures TV under which he will exec-produce and show-run ABC's mid-season entry, Cashmere Mafia. Per Variety, the gig reunites Rake with Darren Star, with whom he created Fox's The Street.