[L&O Comes to TNT in June]
[Janey Sheridan Joins L&O: Criminal Intent]
[Law & Order Is Universally Offensive!]
[Trial & Error: L&O Reality TV]
Law & Order Reruns Begin on TNT in June
And not only do they begin on TNT in June, but they'll be on twice a night: 8pm and 10pm. That's the good news. The bad? TNT's sandwiching new series Witchblade between the two episodes.
Huh? Well, TNT really wants to push its new programming, and are so thrilled at the glut of perceived L&O fans who might just be lazy enough to stick around for a new series, despite that it has nothing to do with law, or order. Witchblade will feature Yancy Butler as a New York detective -- oh, wait, a possible connection -- who comes into contact with a sword-like weapon which gives her the power to "battle earth's darkest evil forces." (And cops usually only have the Miranda warning.) The 2-hour pilot drew a lot of desirable fans when it aired last August, but pairing it with L&O?
Jamey Sheridan Joins L&O: Criminal Intent
By Michael Schneider LAS VEGAS (Variety)
Producer Dick Wolf has recruited Jamey Sheridan (Shannon's Deal') to star opposite Vincent D'Onofrio in his Law & Orderspin-off, Law & Order: Criminal Intent".' Sheridan, whose credits also include the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope, plays a police captain on the NBC series. Courtney B. Vance and Kathryn Erbe also star. Law & Order: Criminal Intent began production Wednesday in New York. Wolf plans to wrap production on the show's initial 13-episode NBC order before potential writers' and actors' strikes cripple production this summer. Sheridan's other TV gigs include Now and Again, Veronica's Closet, Picket Fences and miniseries The Stand. Feature credits include current release The Amati Girls, Cradle Will Rock, The Ice Storm and Stanley & Iris.
Producer pounds NBC for axing Law & Orderepisode
By Michael Schneider HOLLYWOOD (Variety)
Calling it a "dangerous precedent,'' Law & Ordercreator Dick Wolf lashed out at NBC Thursday after the network announced it had eliminated this week's episode of the veteran cop drama from future airings. NBC acted after Latino activists complained that the episode sensationalized last June's "wilding'' spree in Central Park during the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Network execs are still smarting from complaints three years ago over the penultimate episode of Seinfeld, which featured the accidental burning of a Puerto Rico flag. NBC had been in discussions with Latino groups prior to the show's airing, but opted to broadcast the episode. The network had a change of heart Thursday about Law & Order. In a statement, NBC apologized for "offending members of the Latino community.'' "We had an extremely productive meeting with members of the Latino community, and given the context in which the program was aired, we have agreed not to repeat the episode on NBC,'' the statement read. That didn't sit well with Wolf, who argued that NBC has "caved in to the demands of a special interest group.'' "I am extremely disappointed with this decision, about which I was not consulted,'' Wolf said. The producer noted that Law & Ordertraditionally takes its story cues from news headlines, and that over the show's 11-year history the series had offended groups "including, but not limited to, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, gays and lesbians, Italians, Russians, Greeks, conservatives, liberals, pro-life and pro-choice advocates.''
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - NBC is once again turning to Dick Wolf for strike insurance, readying a deal with the uber-producer of Law & Orderto create an primetime drama for the network called Trial and Error. The series will follow the professional and personal lives of five first-year assistant district attorneys in a medium-size city. The show will be edited so that it takes the form of a conventional drama, but without a script or actors. One insider familiar with the project tagged it a "dramamentary''; another labeled it "L.A. Law meets The Real World."
The series will be executive produced by Wolf and Oscar-winning documentarian Bill Guttentag (You Don't Have to Die), NBC has agreed to order 13 episodes of the series for next season; a final deal is expected to be inked as oon as Friday. In addition to the 13 episodes of Trial and Error -- which wouldn't be affected by a potential Hollywood shutdown this summer because neither actors nor writers are involved -- Wolf has already committed to make episodes of three other drama series for NBC before this spring's potential strikes: 13 episodes of the yet-to-bow Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 10 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and six of Law & Order. All told, Wolf is set to produce a whopping 42 hours of potential strike programming for NBC. While the network has other backup plans for a strike (including its newsmagazine Dateline), the Wolf-produced programming gives NBC a major hedge against a labor shutdown.
"And if there's not a strike, this show is real-life Law & Order. We know that works,'' one NBC executive said. The genesis of Trial and Error can be traced to agents at United Talent Agency, which represents both Wolf and Guttentag. The agency told Wolf that Guttentag had an idea for a legal documentary series that seemed perfectly matched to Wolf's passion for all things related to the criminal justice system. Wolf and Guttentag met, discussed ideas and ultimately agreed to team for the project. "It seemed like the perfect meld,'' one insider said, describing Wolf's knowledge of creating primetime drama and Guttentag's documentary expertise. Wolf and Guttentag are hoping to shoot the series on 24-frame digital video, a process that creates a film look at a much cheaper cost, insiders said. The series will likely use music, multiple story arcs and other hallmarks of a conventional drama.
Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler attempted to bring dramatic elements to the short-lived Fox (and soon-to-be PBS) nonfiction series American High last summer. In addition to winning an Oscar for You Don't Have to Die, Guttentag has snagged noms for Crack USA: County Under Siege and Death on the Job. He's won Emmys for a CBS special on the history of Life magazine and the HBO picture A Second Chance. Wolf's current Law & Orderseries are both hits, with the Emmy-winning original series in its 11th season (renewed through 2005) and follow-up Special Victims Unit locked up until 2002. He also produced the rookie syndicated show Arrest and Trial, which is expected to return next fall.
Will L&O's revolving door swing again? According to a report at Fox's 411 website, Dianne Wiest is unhappy with the show and may leave at the end of this season - to be replaced by, possibly, Donald Sutherland! 411 also reports that Richard Belzer's Munch from Law & Order: SVU may be featured on the new, upcoming third L&O, Criminal Intent, starring Vincent D'Onofrio. And, since 411 seems to have the best gossip these days, we'll repeat this one, too: Angie Harmon nearly went out the door recently, but the network wanted to keep her - so she stays. Et Cetera is still waiting for that first essay discussing just what it is that makes L&O fans bristle at the sight of Harmon, but the box remains empty.... Keep fingers crossed that Claire may live again -- just as Jordan Cavanaguh, an "offbeat coroner who refuses to play by the rules" (cliche alert, kids) in a new pilot for NBC. Jill Hennessy was tapped for the role of Jordan.
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