Is Law & Order Done?
After 20 seasons, is Law & Order coming to an end?
The New York Times reports that Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's production company informed select people involved with the series of its demise, including executive producer Fred Berner and former co-executive producer Ed Zuckerman.
However, the Times and Entertainment Weekly both report conversations were continuing late Thursday between Wolf and NBC.
See photos of Law & Order through the years
Reps for NBC and for Wolf's series declined to comment. NBC is scheduled to officially announce its 2010-2011 schedule on Monday.
Deadline and E! News reported Thursday that NBC has canceled the series after a deal for a 21st season fell through.
TNT, which airs Law & Order in syndication, denied a report from Deadline that the channel is in talks to air original episodes of the series.
"Law & Order has been a valuable programming asset for TNT. Currently, we have multiple seasons under license, up to and including season 20, " the cable station said a in a statement. "With this series, TNT is the buyer and NBC is the seller. TNT is not in ongoing discussions about picking up the series for first-run episodes."
The long-running drama is just one season short of breaking Gunsmoke's record for longest running primetime drama, a goal which NBC appeared intent on breaking.
"I'm a Law & Order junkie," NBC prime-time entertainment Chief Angela Bromstad told BusinessWeek in January. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for not having Law & Order break the record."
S. Epatha Merkerson to leave Law & Order after 16 years
However, the original Law & Order has seen better days in the ratings. The most recent new episode attracted 6.17 million viewers on Monday and a 1.7 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic.
Since its debut in 1990, Law & Order has generated three spin-offs: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the short-lived Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
Law & Order's season finale is scheduled for Monday May 24. Should that also serve as a series finale, Law & Order would bow out on the same night as 24, and one night after Lost — bringing three of the most important shows of the last decade.
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