or


[06/02/03 - 12:00 AM]
Fourth 'Law & Order' Due in Fall 2004
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Universal Television, the studio behind NBC's "Law & Order" franchise, has announced it plans to roll out a fourth edition of the drama next fall. The project, which is referred to simply as "Four" by Universal executives, will once again use the now infamous "Law & Order" cops and lawyers formula. The twist to this incarnation is that the series will concentrate more on the New York court system and in a first for the franchise, use a rotating repertory company of actors instead of a principal cast.

The news comes as Universal unveiled its plans over the weekend to bundle its current staple of the original "Law & Order" and spin-offs "Special Victims Unit" and "Criminal Intent" into one deal valued at $550 million per season. The pact will call for Universal to produce 70-72 hours of the franchise each season, with an average license fee of about $8 million per episode. The company hopes to nail down a deal by December even though two years are left on its current contracts with NBC for the original and "Criminal Intent." If reached, the deal would be the largest in television history, topping the previous record of $280 million per season in 1998 for "ER."

At stake for NBC is the threat that if a new pact isn't reached, Universal will take "Special Victims Unit" (whose contract is up at the close of the 2003-04 season) and its proposed spin-off (which is not included as part of the proposed pact) to another network in fall 2004. The company however would have to drop the "Law & Order" prefix from the title of each.

Also at play is the future of Universal Television itself. NBC's parent company, General Electric, is among the bidders to buy Universal Television's parent company, Vivendi Universal. Viacom and Liberty Media are also said to be interested in Vivendi, which includes cable channels, USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel.

While negotiations are at the early stage, both sides are expected to provide arguments about the prospective value of the "Law & Order" franchise:

-- NBC could argue it has raised the profile of the franchise thanks in part to its publicity and promotion. Furthermore while creator Dick Wolf's shows may succeed on the Peacock, the producers efforts on the other networks ("Dragnet" on ABC, "Feds" on CBS and "New York Undercover" on FOX) have not been anywhere near the powerhouse level "Law & Order" has.

-- On the other hand, Universal will likely argue that its programs provide on thing NBC's other series can't: solid ratings for repeats. Such a quality helped the Peacock shore up several time slots during the sweeps periods, as well as put the network's Saturday lineup back on the map this season. And just as important, the franchise's strong 10:00/9:00c performance helps as a lead-in to the local newscasts on NBC affiliates and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

-- Universal is also expected to rely heavily on a recent report by Morgan Stanley analyst Richard A. Bilotti which says that during the 2001-2002 television season, the original "Law & Order" was the most profitable scripted show on the network. The drama, he states, contributed $160.7 million of gross profit, or 14.6% of NBC's total gross profit from regular series ($681.5 million) that season.

Despite all of this, Universal executives insist things are still in the early stages of discussion and expect an amicable resolution.





  [june 2003]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S


· ER (NBC)
· LA DRAGNET (ABC)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (USA)
· LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY (NBC)









[08/02/15 - 08:50 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: "Celebrity Family Feud" Repeats Power Demo Victory for ABC
The Alphabet leads the night among adults 18-49.

[08/02/15 - 08:36 AM]
"Aquarius" Grows by 50% Week to Week in Adult 18-49 for Its Top Rating to Date Among Three Saturday Telecasts
NBC spins the numbers for Saturday, August 1.

[08/01/15 - 11:35 AM]
2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival Celebrates Fifth Anniversary Season
The 2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival returns October 9 at 9:00/8:00c, celebrating its fifth season, with eight new weekly programs.

[08/01/15 - 11:25 AM]
Disney's "Descendants" Waves Magic Ratings Wand for Disney Channel with 6.6 Million Total Viewers
Disney Channel spins the numbers for Friday, July 31.

[08/01/15 - 09:50 AM]
New Episodes of "Super Why!" Soar Onto PBS Kids Starting August 17
Developed for children ages 3-6, the series helps kids explore reading and the alphabet, word families, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary as they follow their favorite Storybrook Village characters on interactive adventures.

[08/01/15 - 09:49 AM]
PBS Kids Premieres All-New Movie, "Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle"
In this adventure-filled feature-length movie, Curious George takes a trip to space but crash-lands in the jungles of Africa, leading to an unforgettable journey with new animal friends.

[08/01/15 - 08:54 AM]
Friday's "Dateline" Hits Three-Week Highs in 18-49 and Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, July 31.

[08/01/15 - 08:45 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: "Dateline" Powers NBC to Demo Victory
The Peacock leads the night among adults 18-49 for the fifth consecutive week.

[07/31/15 - 04:01 PM]
Raven-Symone Returns to Disney Channel to Guest Star in a Special Episode of Hit Spy Comedy "K.C. Undercover," Monday, September 7
The special one hour episode featuring a tour de force of audacious physical comedy, imagination and unexpected disguises, premieres on said Monday.

[07/31/15 - 03:50 PM]
The CW Sets New Season Premiere Date for "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "Jane the Virgin"
Both series will now roll out one week earlier, on Monday, October 12.

[07/31/15 - 03:33 PM]
AMC's Martial Arts Drama Series "Into the Badlands" to Premiere Sunday, November 15th at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT
The series premiere will coincide with AMC's newest movie event, "AMC FightFest," a two-week martial arts movie marathon beginning Monday, November 2 through Friday, November 13.

[07/31/15 - 03:32 PM]
AMC Confirms 15-Episode Order for Second Season of "Fear the Walking Dead"
As previously announced, the series will debut in the U.S. Sunday, August 23 at 9:00/8:00c with an extended 90-minute episode.

[07/31/15 - 03:31 PM]
AMC Places Straight-to-Series Order for "The West" (WT) from Executive Producers Robert Redford and Stephen David Entertainment
In addition, AMC announced today that "The Making of The Mob," also executive produced by Stephen David Entertainment.

[07/31/15 - 01:37 PM]
"Shadowhunters" Star Alberto Rosende to Participate in a Live Twitter Chat with Fans on Tuesday, August 4
Starting at 12:00pm PT/3:00pm ET, fans can tweet Alberto Rosende (@arosende) using #AskAlberto in their message.

[07/31/15 - 01:01 PM]
Starz Releases All New "Blunt Talk" Key Art and Trailer, First Look Photo of Lucy Lawless in "Ash vs Evil Dead," and "Survivor's Remorse" Trailer from TCA
"Blunt Talk" and "Survivor's Remorse" both kick off on Saturday, August 22 on the pay channel.