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"At NBC, it's all 'Law & Order,' all the time"

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"At NBC, it's all 'Law & Order,' all the time"

Old 02-25-05, 02:39 PM
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"At NBC, it's all 'Law & Order,' all the time"

Here's how bare the programming cupboards are at the network that was for years broadcast TV's most dominant and innovative: Next week, NBC will air 12 hours of Law & Order in its various, if not varied, incarnations, allowing the franchise to occupy more than half its schedule.

It's as if the network were purposely pursuing the TV version of the perfect storm, that fatal point where creative exhaustion meets audience ennui.

Oddest of all, right in the middle of that Order onslaught (which drops to a mere nine hours the week after), NBC will premiere the fourth show in the franchise, Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Can you think of a better way to make viewers think they're simply getting more of the same than by surrounding Jury with more of the same? It could be the first show in TV history to premiere as a rerun.

The reason for this late February influx is ratings. NBC is in danger of finishing fourth in the soon-to-be-concluded sweeps — not just in total viewers, but also in the younger viewers the network used to brag about capturing. So it's making use of one of the only weapons it has at its command. What else can it do? Supersize Joey, a once-promising sitcom that has bled viewers and goodwill as the network, the studio and the producers dithered?

The question is how NBC allowed itself to become so reliant on one franchise — a franchise that, unlike CBS' CSI juggernaut, doesn't even hold a spot in the Top 10. Indeed, other than SVU, L&O shows don't even consistently win their time slots.

Still, given that NBC is so dependent on L&O, reason says the network would be wise to avoid exhausting it. Yes, overall, the shows are holding up remarkably well, given that they sometimes air as much as 10 hours a day between network and cable.

But as ABC learned with Who Wants to be a Millionaire, it's virtually impossible to tell when a series has reached the exhaustion point until it has — and by then, it's too late. Ask the buffalo hunters, if you can find any.

Clearly NBC isn't the only network to work a show or a genre to death, or to have trouble coming up with new ideas. Between the falling Numb3rs and the vacant CSI: NY, which is no more than a title in search of a show, CBS has clearly drained the procedural well dry.

Over at Fox, the network's only true hit is the mega-smash American Idol— though wisely the network has used it to boost two great hours, 24 and House. And although ABC has struck the mother lode with Desperate Housewives and Lost, it's propping up the rest of its schedule with various versions of Extreme Makeover.

Still, whether you base your judgment on what people actually do watch or what they should watch, NBC is clearly at the bottom of the network Big Four. Its only series in the season-to-date Top 10 is the aged wonder ER. Its next best performer is The Apprentice, a show that can do no better than a distant second place in a time slot NBC owned for decades.

That's such a dismal development record, you might think the network was being run by a secret cabal of ABC, CBS and Fox executives.

The hopeful news is that network ratings collapses are nothing new, and they often have the same salutatory effect as a forest fire. They're terrible as they rage, but they clear out the deadwood and make room for new growth. Indeed, the farther networks fall, the more prone they are to the kind of experimentation that leads to new, breakout hits. Look at ABC, which went from desperate network to Desperate Housewives in one artistic leap.

Maybe next year, NBC will have a similar recovery. Or maybe it will give us Law & Order: Chapter Five. In which case, we can all just order up another network.
Sunday
L&O: CI, 8 p.m.
L&O, 9 p.m.
L&O: SVU, 10 p.m.

Tuesday
L&O: CI, 8 p.m.
L&O: SVU, 10 p.m.

Wednesday
L&O, 10 p.m.

Thursday
L&O: Trial by Jury, 10 p.m.

Friday
L&O: SVU, 9 p.m.
L&O: Trial by Jury, 10 p.m.

Saturday
L&O, 8 p.m.
L&O: CI, 9 p.m.
L&O: SVU, 10 p.m.

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Old 02-25-05, 02:43 PM
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Nothing new here. I'm eagerly anticipating TBJ.
Old 02-25-05, 02:47 PM
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Same here, Red Dog.
Old 02-25-05, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Nothing new here. I'm eagerly anticipating TBJ.
I'm a complete outsider to L&O, never having seen an episode of any series. I posted this article because I couldn't believe just how much of NBC's schedule is dominated by a single franchise.

That being the case, I actually have an interest in picking up the new series due to some of the cast. Can anybody give me a little pre-show rundown of what the focus of this version is?
Old 02-25-05, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chew
I'm a complete outsider to L&O, never having seen an episode of any series. I posted this article because I couldn't believe just how much of NBC's schedule is dominated by a single franchise.

That being the case, I actually have an interest in picking up the new series due to some of the cast. Can anybody give me a little pre-show rundown of what the focus of this version is?

The reason I said 'nothing new' is that there have been periods before where NBC has saturated the schedule with L&O.

TBJ is supposed to focus more on the 'Order' side - the prosecution, defense, and trial. You'll see prosecution prep and investigation, behind-the-scenes of the defense, more focus on the judges, and jury delibertations.
Old 02-25-05, 03:00 PM
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Thanks!
Old 02-25-05, 03:18 PM
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• Chew •

That being the case, I actually have an interest in picking up the new series due to some of the cast. Can anybody give me a little pre-show rundown of what the focus of this version is?
The focus is Bebe Neuwirth and Annabella Sciorra* in the same show. What more do you need to know?

das

* for at least one episode
Old 02-25-05, 03:22 PM
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What more do I need to know? Is Lorraine Bracco a part of the cast or just a guest-star? The picture made me think cast member.



It's not like it would interfere with anything else she's currently working on.
Old 02-25-05, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chew
I'm a complete outsider to L&O, never having seen an episode of any series. I posted this article because I couldn't believe just how much of NBC's schedule is dominated by a single franchise.
Scheduling yet another L&O show shows that they dont have an original thought in there head. This is the Network that is giving us Joey, The Apprentice and a remake of Coupling. I can see the network executives in their offices saying, we don't have anything new to put on, How about another L&O show?
Old 02-25-05, 04:29 PM
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Be a lot to delete off my Tivo if they're repeats. I don't have it set to first run only since I missed a lot of the first half of the season.

I'm skeptical about TBJ, not that interested in the order side of things. I'll watch the first few just to see Orbach's last couple episodes, and see if I get into it.
Old 02-25-05, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle

I'm skeptical about TBJ, not that interested in the order side of things.

I'm just the opposite. In L&O's heyday - basically seasons 4-8, the Order side was its strength and what hooked me (started watching in '94). They've done 2 spinoffs which are predominantly police (CI is all police from what I've seen) so having one focusing on the trial aspects will be refreshing.
Old 02-25-05, 04:45 PM
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Oh well, I guess the other network now needs to now take their game to the next level and give us another CSI show
Old 02-25-05, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bugg
Oh well, I guess the other network now needs to now take their game to the next level and give us another CSI show

Well, Num3ers is basically another CSI for CBS, if NCIS already isn't.
Old 02-25-05, 05:39 PM
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And people complain about Fox showing the same reality shows.
Old 02-25-05, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bugg
Oh well, I guess the other network now needs to now take their game to the next level and give us another CSI show
CSI: DC?

CSI: Oakland?

CSI: New Orleans?

CSI: Hollywood Studio Backlot?
Old 02-25-05, 06:29 PM
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better than all that "reality" shit that is in steaming piles on network tv these days
Old 02-25-05, 06:42 PM
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Because Reality shows and NBC don't mix? Fear Factor, The Apprentice, Martha stewarts upcoming reality show, Dog Eat Dog, Biggest Loser, etc... etc.

add in the many forms of Dateline specials and you have NBC's line up.
Old 02-25-05, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
The focus is Bebe Neuwirth and Annabella Sciorra* in the same show. What more do you need to know?

das

* for at least one episode


I'm looking forward to TBJ, it can't be any worse then CI
Old 02-25-05, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
The focus is Bebe Neuwirth and Annabella Sciorra* in the same show. What more do you need to know?
Amen, brother. A-MEN.
Old 02-25-05, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
(CI is all police from what I've seen) so having one focusing on the trial aspects will be refreshing.
the ADA is occasionally consulted but I think I've only seen him in a court room once or twice, probably for less than 5 minutes combined
Old 02-25-05, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
the ADA is occasionally consulted but I think I've only seen him in a court room once or twice, probably for less than 5 minutes combined

And like I said in the Noth CI thread, if Courtney Vance can act half as well as he did in the L&O episode he guest-starred in years ago, he needs to be 'promoted' to a prominent role in the L&O universe.
Old 02-25-05, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackskeleton
Because Reality shows and NBC don't mix? Fear Factor, The Apprentice, Martha stewarts upcoming reality show, Dog Eat Dog, Biggest Loser, etc... etc.

add in the many forms of Dateline specials and you have NBC's line up.
But they don't have a show called "Stars without makeup", "Who's my Daddy" or "When animals attack" on their schedule

I think is time for NBC to go back to the creative well and find some "original" programing to fill their schedule. They got to take some chances since they don't have anything else to lose.
Old 02-25-05, 10:43 PM
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I haven't been keeping up with the new seasons, but it's good to know when nothing else is on and I'm bored, I can always find some version of L&O on!
Old 02-25-05, 11:18 PM
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CBS should do CSI: Los Angeles and have that CSI team always running onto the other ones that are ostensibly in other cities but very often obviously not.

If that makes any sense at all.
Old 02-26-05, 01:27 PM
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