Friday, May 14, 2010
Farewell to Law & Order
NBC sources are saying it's all over for Law & Order after a near record of 20 seasons.
The very last telecast of a new episode will take place on May 24 at 10 p.m.
The cancellation means L&A is tied with Gunsmoke as the longest running hour TV network drama.
But NBC has picked up Law & Order: Los Angeles and also renewed Law & Order: SVU for next season.
Launched in 1990, L&O took a few years to really get going with TV viewers.
Original cast members included Christopher Noth as Det. Mike Logan, George Dzundza as Det. serg. Max Greevey, Steven Hill as Dr. Adam Schiff, Michael Moriarty as D.A. Ben Stone, and Richard Brooks as Ass. D.A. Paul Robinette.
When Benjamin Bratt first joined the series in 1995 I got on the set to interview him.
The location that day was a private school in Harlem --the series shot mostly on location with only the police offices and some court rooms as standing sets.
I saw what an incredibly smooth running operation this was. Whoever was directing sat right beside one of the senior producers who had to agree on every shot. One year the producer on the set was none other than Arthur Penn (Bonnie And Clyde).
When I asked Jerry Orbach how it was to work with Bratt he snapped "At least he knows his lines" --a rather cruel jibe at former partner Noth.
When filming concluded at 5 p.m. the crew dismantled everything and were on the road by 5:30 with few if any snafus.
Biggest brouhaha came when Moriarty quit the show in 1994 after a public spat with executive producer Dick Wolf on the issue of TV censorship. He was replaced by Sam Waterston who stayed with the show until the end.
I really enjoyed the cross over episodes with Homicide --remember them?
And let's not forget the brilliant array of New York actors who got to strut their stuff. All were paid scale for their efforts. In fact it is estimated L&O contributed 1.5 billion to the economy of New York city over its two decades of running time.
But L&O isn't going anywhere. It's going to be in reruns and as boxed DVD sets for years to come.
In fact Moriarty once told me he wasn't hounded by fans until the reruns started up on A&E and he had already left the series by then!
NBC has also announced it is picking up four new scripted shows: The Cape stars ER's David Lyons as honest cop Vince Faraday on a corrupt police force
Outlaw has series perennial Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue) as a U.S. Supreme Court judge who quits the bench and returns yo private opractice.
Harry's Law from David E. Kelly (Boston Legal) stars Kathy Bates and Ben Chapin and is all about how fate brings people together.
Plus there's Friends With Benefits, a half hour comedy, about twentysomethings starring Ryan Hansen and Danneel Harris.
And NBC has made it official: Chuck has been renewed for another season.