NBC Keeps "Law & Order"; "CI" Heads to USA Network
Veteran procedural "Law & Order" is coming back to NBC in the fall for an 18th season, while its 7-year old spawn "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is moving to basic cable's USA Network, Hollywood press reports.
NBC Universal has also extended its long-running deal with producer Dick Wolf for another 4 years.
NBC will continue to air repeats of "Criminal Intent," but only after they premiere on USA.
USA has ordered a full season of 22 episodes, which is quite unusual for cable networks.
That means all 3 "Law & Order" franchises will be back in the 2007-2008 season.
NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker believes the move puts USA Network into the same league as broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and will press advertisers to pay higher fees accordingly.
The original "Law & Order" is now the second longest running primetime drama series ever, behind "Gunsmoke" which ran for 20 years (1955-1975).
Both "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" averaged about 9 million viewers this season for which reason they had been "on the bubble" until the new deal was announced.
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