Well, now we can say it for sure. The original Law & Order TV show has been cancelled after 20 years. No special last episode, no beating Gunsmoke’s record, and no season 21. What the heck happened?
Created by Dick Wolf, Law & Order was revolves around NYPD crime investigations and the trials that follow. The current performers include Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Linus Roache, Alana de la Garza, and Sam Waterston.
If you look merely at the ratings. Law & Order should been cancelled awhile ago but it’s produced in-house and is lucrative in syndication. 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.
A few months ago, NBC entertainment president Anglea Bromstad said that she intended to renew it for year 21. It was later revealed that NBC really needed TNT to pick up the additional episodes in syndication to help with the production costs. TNT already has 20 seasons of episodes to draw from and the agreement stipulates NBC couldn’t shop season 21 elsewhere.
According to Deadline, NBC had told Wolf in March that they would negotiate a new agreement with TNT to include financing for some new episodes. Supposedly, NBC opted not to do that.
According to NYMag, NBC was still interested in bringing the show back next season for between six and 10 episodes. To do that, NBC execs wanted him Wolf to find a way to trim costs even further, including potentially trimming his profits, to align more closely with the show’s low ratings.
It seems that Wolf balked at that idea and negotiations fell apart. Several people in the cast and crew were told that the deal wouldn’t be moving forward and that’s how the cancellation news leaked out. NBC claimed that they hadn’t made a final decision yet but ultimately decided to pass.
There was some speculation that TNT might pick up the show and finance first-run episodes. However, the cable channel made it known pretty quickly that they weren’t interested in that.
Law & Order has now been officially cancelled and won’t be back for season 21. The last episode will air on Monday, May 24th. It won’t have any closure though it will serve as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren’s swan song. Actress S. Epatha Merkerson was set to leave the show anyway.
Word is that the network and Wolf will meet to discuss some kind of closure for Law & Order. Characters might appear on another Law & Order series or there could be a wrap-up movie of some kind.
What do you think? Are you sad to see Law & Order go or has it overstayed its welcome? Would you like to see any of the characters transfer to other shows?
Image courtesy NBC.