NBC Officially Cancels LAW & ORDER, Renews SVU, Picks Up L&O: LOS ANGELES

     May 14, 2010

Rumors started swirling last night that Law & Order would not break Gunsmoke‘s record as the longest running primetime series, that instead NBC would cancel the police drama due to low ratings.  That is in fact the case, as NBC officially announced today that they will not be renewing the long-running series for a 21st season.  Creator Dick Wolf is reportedly interested in pursuing the show elsewhere, likely TNT, where the series airs in syndication.

But the L&O franchise is not yet done with NBC, who made the easy decision of renewing Law & Order: SVU, the highest-rated drama on the network, and officially ordering new spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles (or LOLA, if you prefer) for the 2010-2011 season.  Check out the press release after the jump. [Artwork above by the brilliant Brandon Bird]

Here’s the official press release:

NBC ANNOUNCES PICKUPS FOR NEW DRAMA ‘LOLA’ (‘LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES’) AND RETURNING ‘LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’ AND ‘LAW & ORDER’ ENDS ITS HISTORIC RUN ON NBC MAY 24
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 14, 2010 – NBC has picked up the new drama “LOLA” (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”) as well as renewed “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for the 2010-11 season.  In addition, NBC will end its historic and record-tying “Law & Order” when the mothership series concludes its 20th season on Monday, May 24 (10-11 p.m. ET).

The announcements were made today by Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

Jeff Gaspin, Chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment said, “The full measure of the collective contributions made by Dick Wolf and his ‘Law & Order’ franchise over the last two decades to the success of NBC and Universal Media Studios cannot be overstated. The legacy of his original ‘Law & Order’ series will continue to make an impact like no other series before.”

Bromstad added: “‘Law & Order’ has been one of the most successful franchises in the history of television, which is why it is so critical that we continue this important brand and our relationship with Dick Wolf and his team with ‘LOLA’ and ‘Law & Order: SVU.’”

The brainchild of creator and Emmy Award winner Wolf, “Law & Order” has spawned one of the most successful brands in primetime television.  It is the 1997 Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Drama Series and the record holder for the most consecutive (11) nominations in that category for a primetime series (tied with “Cheers” and “M*A*S*H”).  It premiered on September 13, 1990, and eventually tied “Gunsmoke” as the longest-running drama series in television history.

The new “LOLA” (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”) is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the “Law & Order”-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.  The series, from executive producer Dick Wolf and Blake Masters (“Brotherhood”), is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios.  Casting and pre-production work are continuing.

In its current 11th season, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” has delivered a 2.9 rating, 8 share in adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers overall.  “Law & Order: SVU” is NBC’s #1 scripted series this season in total viewers.  Since moving to Wednesdays (10-11 p.m. ET) on March 3, “SVU” is #1 in the time period in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and other key ratings categories and has improved on NBC’s average rating in the hour during the traditional 2008-09 season by 29 percent in adults 18-49.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a hard-hitting and emotional series from NBC’s “Law & Order” brand as it chronicles the Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department, the elite squad of detectives who investigate sexually based crimes.  The drama follows Detective Elliot Stabler (Emmy Award nominee Christopher Meloni), a seasoned veteran, and his partner, Detective Olivia Benson (Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Mariska Hargitay), whose difficult past is the reason she joined the unit.

Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) oversees the unit while Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer, “Homicide: Life on the Street”) brings his acerbic wit and street-honed investigative skills to the team.  Munch’s partner, Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T), adds his unique sense of humor and investigative experience.  Forensic psychiatrist, George Huang (B.D. Wong) and  Medical Examiner Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) uncover forensic evidence.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios. Wolf is creator and executive producer; Neal Baer (“ER,” “China Beach”), Ted Kotcheff (“Fun with Dick and Jane,” “Weekend at Bernie’s”) and Jankowski are executive producers.

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” continues to air in its ninth season on USA Network.

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