Law & Order: Has the NBC TV Show Been Cancelled?

Law & Order canceled?Though NBC entertainment president Anglea Bromstad previously indicated that Law & Order would continue for a 21st season, there are now reports that the show has been cancelled.

Law & Order was created by Dick Wolf and first debuted in September 1990. The series revolves around NYPD crime investigations and the trials that follow. Though the premise has remained the same, the cast has changed many times over the years. The current performers include Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Linus Roache, Alana de la Garza, and Sam Waterston.

Interestingly, the TV show didn’t break into the top 30 in the ratings until its fourth season. Even more amazing is that Law & Order actually hit its ratings peak in season 12 when it placed at number seven for the year. The show has been in decline since then however, ranking 73rd in year 17 and then 62nd last season.

By all accounts, it should been cancelled years ago but it’s kept on a tight budget. Last spring, Wolf reportedly made concessions to NBC so that the show could stay on the air in order to tie Gunsmoke’s number of seasons on the air.

In January, Bromstad said that she was a Law & Order junkie and wouldn’t want to be the one to go down in history for cancelling the series. Though the ratings are terrible, the show can be used as a utility player to fill spots in the schedule and it is produced in-house. NBC certainly has a lot of spots to fill in the 2010-11 schedule.

Will Law & Order soon be cancelled?

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Things weren’t looking as certain in late March however. TNT has a syndication deal with Wolf Films and NBC-Universal to run the first 20 seasons of Law & Order. They are not, however, obligated to purchase any additional seasons and, per the agreement, NBC can’t shop them elsewhere.

Because the ratings for Law & Order are so poor, NBC needs the TNT license fees to offset production costs. The cable channel was understandably hesitant to buy more. They had to take a $104 million loss stemming from a deal to purchase Without a Trace which has under-performed.

There are now conflicting reports that Law & Order has been cancelled. While NBC is not commenting, several outlets are reporting the news with different sources as proof. Deadline broke the news but did not cite a source for the news. EOnline is reporting that the cast and crew were given the bad news earlier today. Meanwhile, NY Times reporter Brian Stelter has confirmed the news from Ed Zuckerman, a former executive producer for Law & Order. He says that he was given the news by Wolf’s office.

On the other side of things, EW and The Futon Critic are reporting that talks are still ongoing and the venerable drama might survive to see another season. We’ll keep you updated as things unfold. NBC is supposed to unveil their new schedule on Sunday so we should know for sure by then.

What do you think? Is Law & Order finally toast or will the long-running drama return next season?

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7 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. tina bashir says

    Please bring Law & Order back & Law & Order SVU …. I am waiting in anticipation for their new season. I hv to contend myself by watrching re-runs….So dun even think about taking them off the air…..

  2. Harvey Richmond says

    Is there any way you can keep “Law and Order” on the air? It is the most well written, topical and interestng entertainment program on the air. There must be a way to keep it on. We watch it religiously.

  3. Carol Pines says

    Please do NOT cancel “Law and Order”. It is one of the few literate network dramas and has been for all of its years. In addition, people who watch it have money to spend and the sponsors should realize this.

  4. Reshana Dayan says

    This show lost what made it good and different from other shows. The older shows were much better and interesting. The really good episodes actually made you think about the show and the law. The current incarnations make me sad. But NBC has been dropping the ball on shows and having bad advertising which also drives away an audience so how much of it is NBC’s fault?

  5. Jeremy Rynek says

    Well they took E.R. off and I thought that was unstoppable. So all bets are off. But this could be all complete BS. You never know. They cancel Southland, Kath and Kim, Mu name is Earl and My own worst enemy prematurely. They cancel Trauma which they better bring back, so this just really proves my point which is this: Networks are all about the money. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean if now their gonna cancel a now known as relic or whatever then nothing is safe. Except oh yeah American idol. I look foward to watching the 54th season. What you really wanna try and convince me its not gonna last that long? Anyway if Law & Order is really on the fence then I think we’re all screwed. If their just gonna take stuff off the air if it falls al little. Do not get attached!!!

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