NBC NEWS: Things Look Bad for LAW & ORDER, HEROES, and THE ROCKFORD FILES, But CHUCK Gets a 4th Season

     May 13, 2010

Over at NBC headquarters today, it turns out Law & Order may not get that record 21st season everyone was counting on, while Heroes may get six more episodes next year to wrap up its saga, and the sure thing that was the Rockford Files pilot turned out to be too 1970s for NBC.  In more positive news, Chuck has officially been renewed, while NBC is expected to pick up Kindreds, Garza, and The Cape.  More on each item after the jump.

law_and_order_imageLaw & Order
debuted in 1990, and having just entered its third decade after twenty seasons on the air, a 21st season would break the record Gunsmoke set for longest-running primetime series.  Despite low ratings, it was more or less assumed that NBC would renew the series for the purposes of legacy.  NBC Entertainment President Angela Bromstad even commented, “I wouldn’t want to be responsible for not having Law & Order break the record.” [Business Week]  And yet, she may assume said responsibility, as Deadline reports that NBC will likely not renew the police procedural for another season.

There’s still some debate as to how official the death of L&O is, but things are looking pretty bleak.  Creator Dick Wolf is reportedly, “so fucking angry, you have no idea,” as he believes a cancellation represents NBC going back on a pact made in March to keep the show on the air.  Wolf likes the idea of taking the L&O to TNT, where repeats air endlessly in syndication.  That is, after all, where Southland ended up after NBC cancelled it, and they even got another season out of the arrangement.  NBC may want to refrain from straining their relationship with Wolf, as the man still runs the spinoffs L&O: SVU, L&O: Criminal Intent, and the upcoming L&O: Los Angeles.  Surprising news if it ever becomes official.

In less surprising news, we reported yesterday on the unlikelihood that Heroes would be renewed.  At least, not for a full season, though there was talk of a two-to-four hour movie.  Deadline followed up on the rumors, and they’re hearing that the superhero saga may get six hours next fall to tie up all the loose ends.  But it is advised that breath should not be held, as that is still a rather expensive production for a show long past its prime: NBC accountants are probably advising the network to cut its ties with the series.

Back to surprising news: the remake of the 1970s drama The Rockford Files has been pencilled in to NBC’s Fall 2010 schedule since its announcement last summer–a virtual lock among all the network pilots.  Steve Carrell and House creator David Shore producing and Dermot Mulroney (a relatively big name, I suppose) starring, how could you go wrong?  Well, according to Vulture, it’s just not very good.  NBC executives still like the script, but one source claimed “The pilot looked like it was shot in the seventies.  You didn’t even know it was the current day until Jim pulled out his cell phone.”  The show may still make it to air, in part to stay friendly with Carrell (star of a hit NBC show) and Shore (creator of a hit NBC Universal-produced show), though in some altered form.  Many are imagining what a Josh Holloway-led Rockford Files would look like after the “sideways story” of his Lost character Sawyer featured the rugged actor as a cop.

I saved the best for last, folks: The Live Feed reports Chuck has officially been renewed!  I don’t know whether it’s for 13 episodes or the full 22, whether it’s for fall or for midseason, or whether any budget cuts are in store–I’m just happy to have it back.  Likewise, the legal dramas Kindreds and Garza and the superhero-centric The Cape all look like they will be picked up in the near future; Deadline even reports that NBC has officially ordered David E. Kelley’s Kindreds for 12 to 13 episodes for midseason.  Check out the details for each pilot below.

Plot: “A curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer and his group of misfit associates form an unconventional kind of law practice.”
Cast/Crew: created by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal); cast includes Kathy Bates (About Schmidt) and Brittany Snow (Prom Night)

Plot: “A former cop framed for a crime he didn’t commit who becomes The Cape, a masked hero, to clear his name and reunite with his son.”
Cast/Crew: cast includes Summer Glau (Firefly)

Plot: “Drama which follows an ex-Supreme Court justice who quits the court to start his own legal practice.”
Cast/Crew: produced by Conan O’Brien; stars Jimmy Smits (The West Wing)