[05/14/04 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Revives 'Crime & Punishment,' Pulls 'Restaurant'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- NBC has announced the return of its summer documentary series "Crime & Punishment." In addition, the Peacock has confirmed it has pulled "The Restaurant" from its schedule effective immediately.

"Crime" will return for its "third season" on Saturday, June 12 at 10:00/9:00c. It's understood the new season is actually a compilation of the seven unaired installments from the show's first two seasons.

The news was announced via press release today:


Executive Produced By Dick Wolf and Two-time Academy Award-Winning Documentarian Bill Guttentag

Dick Wolf's ("Law & Order") critically acclaimed, real-life legal series "Crime & Punishment" -- which chronicles cases prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney's office -- returns for its third season on NBC Saturday, June 12 from 10-11 p.m. (ET/PT). The series is created and executive-produced by Wolf (creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning "Law & Order" and NBC's spin-off series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"), along with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Bill Guttentag.

David J. Kanter is co-creator and executive producer; and Peter Jankowski is also executive producer.

"Crime & Punishment" follows prosecutors from the San Diego County District Attorney's office as they investigate and try cases that Wolf says "are as compelling as any fiction you will see on television." This season, the series focuses on cases that include murder, kidnapping, drag-racing, vehicular homicide, child abuse, identity theft and the highly-publicized "bum fights."

Filmed in 24P Hi-Def video, the series combines cinema verit´┐Ż footage -- going behind the scenes with prosecutors as they investigate crimes and prepare their cases -- with three-camera courtroom coverage, giving it the look and feel of a fictional drama series. Three specially designed, remotely operated cameras were placed inside courtrooms to capture trial proceedings.

"What Bill and his team have done is unprecedented in television," Wolf says. "He has single-handedly raised the bar on 'reality' television to make a series that looks and feels like a cross between an Oscar-caliber documentary and an Emmy-honored primetime series. Viewers will see the drama unfold from real-life victims, prosecutors, family members and defendants that cannot be duplicated on a soundstage."

Guttentag adds, "there are no interviews, no narration, and no reenactments -- everything is real as it unfolds on the screen. The drama is powerful and the scenes frequently gripping and emotional, as the prosecutors work to bring justice for victims and their families. The stakes here are extremely high."

Wolf is creator and executive producer of the hugely successful "Law & Order" franchise, including all three branded series, which recently received unprecedented two-year renewals from NBC. The Emmy Award-winning "Law & Order," now entering its 14th season on NBC and one of the top-ranked programs on network television, has also received a record eleven consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nominations and won the coveted award in that category in 1997. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," entering its sixth year on NBC, continues to be one of the top-rated drama series on television. It consistently wins its time period by a wide margin in ratings, share and key demographics, and is the highest-rated primetime show on Tuesdays. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," entering its fourth season, is NBC's highest rated program on Sunday night.

Guttentag, one of the nation's top documentary filmmakers, won Academy Awards for "You Don't Have To Die" and last year for the Wolf-produced 9/11 documentary "Twin Towers." He received three other Oscar nominations as well as two Emmy Awards. He has made films for HBO, ABC, CBS and others. His HBO films include Academy Award nominated "Crack USA" and "Memphis PD: War on the Streets," for which he won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. In 1998, he directed "Assassinated: The Last Days of Kennedy and King." His films have been selected twice for The Sundance Film Festival and have played and won awards at numerous American and international film festivals.

"Crime & Punishment" is produced by Wolf Films, Shape Pictures and Anonymous Content in association with NBC Universal Television.

As for "The Restaurant," NBC has slated a repeat of "Crossing Jordan" ("Devil May Care") for the show's 10:00/9:00c slot on Monday. It's not clear what the Peacock plans to run in place of the series' previously announced two-hour finale on May 24.

"The Restaurant" however will rejoin the network's schedule on Wednesday, June 9 at 9:00/8:00c. The Peacock plans to re-air the show's second season from the beginning before moving onto the two yet-to-be-aired installments.

  [may 2004]  


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