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)





[09/18/14 - 11:31 AM]
FX Picks Up "Tyrant" for a Second Season
Production is scheduled to begin next spring with the second season returning in the summer of 2015.

[09/18/14 - 09:32 AM]
TVGN (TV Guide Network) to Rebrand as "POP" - New Brand to Launch in First Quarter 2015
POP is billed as "a multi-platform destination dedicated to celebrating the fun of being a fan."

[09/18/14 - 09:01 AM]
BBC America Presents the 2014 Britannia Awards Honorees
BAFTA Los Angeles will honor Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Emma Watson, Mike Leigh and Dame Judi Dench at this year's awards ceremony.

[09/18/14 - 08:29 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Tops Charts with "Got Talent" Finale, "Laura" Premiere
The Peacock easily leads the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[09/18/14 - 08:22 AM]
Comedy Central's "@midnight" Joins New York Comedy Festival Lineup, Will Tape and Air Week of Shows in NYC
The social media sensation joins the stellar lineup of the 2014 New York Comedy Festival to tape a week of shows which will air Monday, November 3 through Thursday, November 6.

[09/18/14 - 06:09 AM]
Darrell Hammond to Serve as New Announcer for "Saturday Night Live"
Hammond will take over the role from the late Don Pardo.

[09/18/14 - 05:54 AM]
Aubrey Plaza to Be Voice of Grumpy Cat in Lifetime's "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" Premiering November 29
The infamous kitty with the hilariously woeful but endearing facial expression stars in her very own live-action Christmas movie this holiday season.

[09/17/14 - 10:00 PM]
Winner Voted of NBC's Hit Summer Series "America's Got Talent"
The winner will headline "America's Got Talent Live" at The AXIS Powered by Monster at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas (September 26 and 27).

[09/17/14 - 01:35 PM]
ABC Family's "100 Days Until Christmas" Campaign a Social Media Hit on Facebook
"Pretty Little Liars" continues to be dominate on Twitter, ranking as TV's #1 most-tweeted TV drama series of Summer 2014.

[09/17/14 - 01:35 PM]
The Viral Video Show That Started It All, "America's Funniest Home Videos," Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Maker Studios Content Partnership Anchored by Original Clip Show "ShayFV" Starring Shay Carl
The original content initiative extends an existing relationship between Vin Di Bona Productions and Maker Studios.

[09/17/14 - 01:34 PM]
Former President Bill Clinton to Appear on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" Thursday, September 18 at 11 p.m. ET/PT
President Clinton will preside over the 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, which takes place next week (September 21-24) in New York City.

[09/17/14 - 01:33 PM]
A+E Networks(R) Hits 22 Million Downloads with TV Everywhere Apps
The free, ad-supported TV Everywhere apps offer fans access to full episodes, movies and exclusive clips of their favorite A+E Networks HD programming.

[09/17/14 - 12:44 PM]
TBS to Celebrate 20 Years of "Friends" with 20-Episode Marathon on Sept. 22
"We're thrilled to be celebrating Friends' 20th anniversary by giving fans the chance to choose their favorite episodes for TBS's 20-episode marathon," said Phil Oppenheim.

[09/17/14 - 12:38 PM]
SundanceTV Celebrates Academy(R) Award Winner Danny Boyle
In honor of his upcoming series "Babylon," SundanceTV is featuring an evening-long celebration of the renowned director, including the original long form episode that inspired the series of the same name.

[09/17/14 - 12:24 PM]
HGTV's "Love It or List It" Begins Production in Raleigh-Durham
Producers at Big Coat Productions are actively seeking potential homeowners who are torn between renovating their existing home and relocating to a new residence.