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Law & Order: NBC to Renew Show for Historic Season 21?

Law & OrderFans of the venerable Law & Order series got a nice gift to start off the new year. Through the venerable crime drama is down in the ratings once again, NBC’s President of Primetime Entertainment, Angela Bromstad, has vowed to renew it for another year.

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.

The show has been on the air for 20 seasons now. Interestingly, it didn’t break into the top 30 in the ratings until season four. Even more amazing is that Law & Order actually hit its peak in season 12 when it ranked number seven for the year. The show has been in decline since then however, ranking 73rd in year 17 and then 62nd last season.

The crime drama is a survivor though and so is its creator. Wolf reportedly made concessions to NBC last spring in order to keep Law & Order around for another season. He wanted to match the 20 year record that’s previously been held for Gunsmoke as the longest-running drama in US primetime.

This season, the show opened to a dismal 1.2 rating but the numbers have improved slightly over time. Though its ratings haven’t been very good, even for a Friday night series, it looks like Law & Order will surpass Gunsmoke’s record. In an interview with BusinessWeek, Bromstad indicated that she intended to renew Wolf’s show for a historic 21st season.

She said, “I’m a Law & Order junkie… I wouldn’t want to be responsible for not having Law & Order break the record.”

Bromstad acknowledged that the schedule has to be essentially rebuilt and is ordering 18 pilots for next season. Still, they can’t cancel everything and from that standpoint, they have no reason not to keep Law & Order around for another 13 episodes. It’s produced on a tight budget and, since it’s made in-house by NBC-Universal, they can make money on the backend from syndication and DVD sales.

What do you think? Are you surprised that Law & Order is sticking around for season 21? Should it stay or is are you ready for the series to go?

 

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

BobBlusoe April 18, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I agree that messed Law & Order’s ratings up by moving it just like they did with Jay and Conan. Now that Law and Order is Monday at 10 it should get more ratings. Law and Order is one of those rare shows that could go on for 50 years if it got good enough ratings. The cast, crew, and show can evolve with our lives because of its endless story potential.

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Guest March 31, 2010 at 2:28 pm

My other is a huge fan of Law & Order all 3 of them, I watch them as well but not a huge fan. I think the ratings keep going down because they keep switching the time,day and station it plays on . If they kept the original day, time and station everything would be okay. I’m glad the show is holding on

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Lisa March 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I love Law and Order but my favorite is SVU. But anyway I just wanted to say how nice it was to finally get a name of the person resoinsible for f***** up NBC primetime. I miss Conan =( This maybe immature and irrevelant to the question but..oh well………….FU Angela Bromstad

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Angie February 17, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Great News! …I love Law & Order….I’m looking forward to many more episodes to come!…

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T.Green February 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I love Law & Order and will be sad to see it go. I was confused with the date and time changes. I think this may have been the problem with other Law & Order followers as well. The original time of 10pm is perfect and also what is happening with Law & Order Criminal Intent, as well as Law & Order SVU? We are all waiting to find out when these seasons will begin. My friends and I talk about all the shows constantly. We all admit to being addicts of Law & Order and want to see it continue.

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Angie January 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

My sister and I have always been and will continue to be LAW AND ORDER junkies… PLEASE DON’T CANCEL IT!…this program is one of the best there is on tv…always good stories and great CAST…my sister and her family resides on another island here in Hawaii and LAW AND ORDER is one of our favorite topics when ever we communicate with each other…
I hope LAW AND ORDER goes on for many years to come!… Ido enjoy the performances of the entire cast from the past to the present: Sisto, Anderson, Merkerson, Roache, de la Garza and esp Sam Waterston(he’s the Greatest)….Mahalo & Aloha!

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Brenda January 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

I am also a Law and Order junkie. I miss Jerry Orbach “Lenny Brisco” terribly, but love my Sam Waterston”Jack McCoy”. He is my computer screensaver. I think the changes in cast members throughout the years (sometimes disappointing) has made the show more interesting in some ways.
I do not like it on Friday nights though and now that Jay Leno is gone, please move it back to Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. central time.

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Pam Telfer January 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm

I am so happy that someone has decided to continue Law and Order for the 21st. season.
I just cant wait each week till the next episode is on. Just love S.Epatha Merkerson. I sure hope she does some other shows. Thank you for keeping it going.

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gwen green January 11, 2010 at 10:57 am

my husband and I have been a faithful watcher since it started. We also watch the reruns on tnt. Although the cast has changed over the years and each time we thought the new ones would never be as good as the ones they replaced, it always worked. Thanks for keeping it on.

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Bob January 8, 2010 at 5:03 am

And NBC wonders why they are having trouble .. Law and order should have been dropped 10 years ago yet what NBC does is keep spinning off this hardly watched show. Are they just saving money on not haveing to create new Sets for filming .. And they can’t seem to keep show that are attracting new audiences.

Sad to see. There’s no commitment to anything.

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Kimberly January 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Moving it to Friday night has killed it and me. Who is home on Friday? Move it back to Wednesday and the ratings will go up.

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Melissa January 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I think Law and Order should never go away. I love, and I do mean love, the show. I think it would do better at a different time than 8pm on a Friday night, but what do I know, I’m just one of the biggest fans of the show. I have to record it now because I am not home until about 8:30 on Friday nights. So, there you go, if they change the night or the time I believe Law and Order could go onfor another five years.

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Jason January 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Very happy! But with the network ordering 18 pilots.. I wonder what that means for Jay Leno. Though I heard that the deal with Leno was that the network promised him a two-year deal and then if it didn’t work out, they planned to give the hour back to the affiliate so they could do a 10pm news if they liked.

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Roberta January 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

I am so happy that for once they keep a good show on the air. I am addiction to all the L&O shows and it is good that it will surpass Gunsmoke!

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cameron January 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm

YEAH!!!!!!!!

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