After 20 seasons, is Law & Order coming to an end?
The New York Times reports that Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's production company informed select people involved with the series of its demise, including executive producer Fred Berner and former co-executive producer Ed Zuckerman.
However, the Times and Entertainment Weekly both report discussions were continuing late Thursday between Wolf and NBC.
Reps for NBC and for the show declined to comment. NBC is scheduled to officially announce its 2010-2011 schedule on Monday.
TNT, which airs Law & Order in syndication, denied a report from Deadline that the channel is in talks to air original episodes of the series.
"Law & Order has been a valuable programming asset for TNT. Currently, we have multiple seasons under license, up to and including season 20, " the cable station said a in a statement. "With this series, TNT is the buyer and NBC is the seller. TNT is not in ongoing discussions about picking up the series for first-run episodes."
The long-running drama is just one season short of breaking Gunsmoke's record for longest running primetime drama, a goal which NBC appeared intent on breaking.
"I'm a Law & Order junkie," NBC prime-time entertainment Chief Angela Bromstad told BusinessWeek in January. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for not having Law & Order break the record."
However, the original Law & Order has seen better days in the ratings. The most recent new episode attracted 6.17 million viewers on Monday and a 1.7 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic.
Law & Order's season finale is scheduled for Monday May 24. Should that also serve as a series finale, Law & Order would bow out on the same night as 24, and one night after Lost — bringing three of the most important shows of the last decade to a nearly simultaneous close.
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