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)





[06/25/16 - 08:55 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: ABC Wins Low Key Demo Race
ABC, NBC and CBS all finish within a few ticks among adults 18-49.

[06/25/16 - 08:27 AM]
Women's Gymnastics Championship Grows 80% Vs. Year-Ago Saturday Telecast
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, June 24.

[06/24/16 - 02:59 PM]
Netflix Announces Premiere Date for "Haters Back Off"
All eight episodes of will premiere globally on October 14 at 12:01am PST exclusively on Netflix.

[06/24/16 - 02:08 PM]
TLC Brings Back "A Baby Story" in a Whole New Way
TLC reinvented "A Baby Story" by bringing a live birth to Facebook in an unprecedented event early this morning with "A Baby Story Live."

[06/24/16 - 12:03 PM]
Travel Channel's "Expedition Unknown" Posts Highest-Rated Episode of Second Season
Travel Channel spins the numbers for Wednesday, June 22.

[06/24/16 - 11:23 AM]
Video: HBO's "High Maintenance" Tease & Photo - Debuts this Fall
The half-hour comedy series follows a Brooklyn pot dealer who delivers to clients with neuroses as diverse as the city.

[06/24/16 - 11:08 AM]
James Earl Joins "Scream Queens" in the Series Regular Role of "Candy Striper"
Set in a hospital, where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation, Earl is one of the new male leads opposite recently announced Emmy Award nominee John Stamos and Taylor Lautner.

[06/24/16 - 10:51 AM]
Hulu's Fall 2016 Slate
The streaming service confirms dates for "The Mindy Project" (October 4), "Chance" (October 19), "Shut Eye" (December 7) and more!

[06/24/16 - 09:30 AM]
"Good Witch" Season Finale Delivers Hallmark Channel's Highest-Rated and Most-Watched Episode of the Season
The Hallmark Channel further spins the numbers for Sunday, June 19.

[06/24/16 - 09:01 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: "Big Brother" Sparks CBS Victory
The Eye claims the top spot in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[06/24/16 - 08:32 AM]
Third Season of Emmy-Nominated Amazon Original Series "Annedroids" is Now Available on Prime Video
The series spotlights, through trial and error, how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can inspire children to do great things.

[06/24/16 - 08:23 AM]
Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Tap Actor Anthony Anderson to Reveal "The Best Place To Be" in New Travel Channel Series
The series follows Hollywood's hottest A-List celebrities as they share the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee at their most favorite international destinations.

[06/24/16 - 07:30 AM]
VH1's Hit Series "Basketball Wives LA" Returns Sunday July 17th at 9:00 PM ET/PT
Returning cast members include Shaunie O'Neal, Tami Roman, Jackie Christie, Malaysia Pargo, Brandi Maxiell and Angel Brinks.

[06/24/16 - 07:19 AM]
NBA Superstar LeBron James and Business Partner Maverick Carter Draft a Winning Lineup for New CNBC Series "Cleveland Hustles"
The series teams four successful Cleveland business leaders with local entrepreneurs looking for an investment to launch their own brick-and-mortar stores.

[06/23/16 - 05:44 PM]
CBS to Encore "American Gothic" Series Premiere This Sunday
Said rebroadcast will replace the previously announced repeat of "Elementary" at 10:00/9:00c.