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)





[12/06/16 - 08:41 AM]
Bask in the Summer Heat with Bravo Media's New Series "Summer House" Premiering Monday, January 16 at 10PM ET/PT
"Summer House" brings together a group of nine friends who work hard during the week, but on the weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they share a summer house to let loose in a big way that speaks to their exclusive, high-end lifestyle.

[12/06/16 - 08:11 AM]
Ring in the New Year with Marathons of Award-Winning Series "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" on AMC
Also look for binge opportunities from "Humans" and "Into the Badlands."

[12/05/16 - 06:18 PM]
Jimmy Kimmel Talks Oscars(R) Host Gig on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
"Mike [De Luca] and Jennifer [Todd] have an excellent plan and their enthusiasm is infectious," said Kimmel. "I am honored to have been chosen to host the 89th and final Oscars."

[12/05/16 - 05:29 PM]
For the First Time, "This Is Us" Beats "Empire" in L+3 18-49 Ratings for the Primetime Week
NBC further spins the numbers for Tuesday, November 29 and Wednesday, November 30.

[12/05/16 - 03:28 PM]
OWN's "Queen Sugar" Season Finale Ranks as #1 Cable Telecast for Women Wednesday Night Delivering 2.76 Million Total Viewers
OWN further spins the numbers for the series to date.

[12/05/16 - 01:30 PM]
"Every Brilliant Thing," The Innovative Off-Broadway Show Adapted for the Screen by Award-Winning Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, Offers a List for Life; Documentary Debuts Dec. 26
Starring British comedian Jonny Donahoe, this deeply poignant film recounts a life lived in the shadow of suicide.

[12/05/16 - 01:18 PM]
Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman Are Back with a New Batch of Young Bakers on "Kids Baking Championship"
The 10-week competition kicks off Monday, January 2 at 8:00/7:00c on Food Network.

[12/05/16 - 01:04 PM]
Netflix Announces Slate of Original Films, Documentaries and Series at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival
Morgan Neville, Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Elijah Wood, Rashida Jones, Melanie Lynskey, Riley Keough, Jesse Plemons, and Alfre Woodard are among the featured auspices.

[12/05/16 - 12:22 PM]
Season Finale of Freeform's "Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?" Soars to 5-Week Highs Across Key Target Demographics
Freeform further spins the numbers for the series to date.

[12/05/16 - 12:08 PM]
Limited Drama Series "The Young Pope," Starring Jude Law and Diane Keaton and Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, Debuts Jan. 15 on HBO
Young and charming, Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, is the first American Pope in history.

[12/05/16 - 11:19 AM]
Investigation Discovery Greenlights Scripted True-Crime Movie "Final Vision" Starring Scott Foley and Dave Annable
The film is the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated Green Beret Army Doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

[12/05/16 - 11:11 AM]
"Star Glam Tour" - Free Glam Services On-the-Go Beginning Today
FOX brings Miss Carlotta's mobile salon - with free manicures, blowouts and braids services - to Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Oakland.

[12/05/16 - 11:01 AM]
Freeform's "Moments to Celebrate" Programming Event, Begins Monday, December 26, and Continues Through Sunday, January 1
Look for a special sneak preview of the first episode of Freeform's upcoming new sci-fi saga, "Beyond."

[12/05/16 - 10:40 AM]
Video: Crackle's "SuperMansion: War on Christmas" Releases First Look Clip Featuring Jim Parsons
The original special premieres this coming Thursday, December 8.

[12/05/16 - 10:03 AM]
AMC Announces the Premiere of Its Critically-Acclaimed Scripted Drama Series, "Humans," Returning for Its Sophomore Season on Monday, February, 13th
Carrie-Anne Moss joins the cast as Dr. Athena Morrow, a pre-eminent Artificial Intelligence expert who is driven by her own motives to create a new kind of machine consciousness.