Wednesday, July 7, 2010

AMC: Possible Home for Law & Order?

New York Magazine advises that AMC has recently “quietly approached NBC Universal to inquire about just how much money would be needed to produce original episodes.” An excerpt:

“There hasn't been any movement on the matter since the original discussions, but there are reasons why AMC might want to open up its wallet: While ratings for Bad and Men have been rising, they're still relatively small compared to other cable hits. Last month's Breaking Bad season finale, for example, was watched by just 1.6 million viewers, as compared to the 3 million or so who tuned in for June’s Drop Dead Diva premiere on Lifetime. And last spring, 3.5 million viewers watched first-run episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on USA: Assuming L&O could generate similar numbers on AMC, the established series could prove to be a potent way for AMC to market its homegrown shows to viewers who might not already be hip to the unique charms of Don Draper and Walter White. “


You can read the full article here: AMC has recently “AMC Investigates Reviving Law & Order”



Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

29 comments:

Robert said...

Oh God, please let this happen

janethyland said...

Conjecture and rumour.
I refer everyone to the comment made by alynch after that article,a reputable source,quoting the reference to the fact that AMC has already paid out 3million for Bad men etc....

Are they going to pull Balcer out of LOLA and the actors out of their various commitments?

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Janethyland (aka Jeff Zucker) please stop being such a downer. LOLA is going to fail on an EPIC scale. No true Law and Order fan will ever accept a bright and cheery LA for the gritty and gorgeous NYC. 212 all the way baby!!!

AMC knows that even 3.0 rating is by far better than what their best shows get. It gets people to watch the network and they'll stick around to watch other programs.

Good for AMC to try to get this still viable and highly entertaining show. NBC again fails.

Dalton said...

I'd be happy with AMC holding the series, but as long as they don't make too many major changes (I'd hate to see a major cast change like CI had, even though it's unlikely).

Long live the mothership!

gahks said...

Come on AMC!

Do the honourable thing, for pity's sake!

janethyland said...

Dont be such a downer on LOLA.

They just cast Skeet Ulrich, which is an interesting move. He is an actor with a huge range, who can suggest evil and good at the same time.His appointment is a strategy that might pay off and make up for the predictability of the same formula.His acting has an edge to it that even the formula might not smother.
Im sure those involved in developing it want it to succeed.

Esaul said...

I wonder why people are being a downer on LOLA. Oh I can think of one reason...the cancellation of the Mothership to have the franchise "sexified". Gratend, I WAS excited about LOLA when it was first announced way back when, before the mothership was cancelled. Now I'm not, not with the mothership gone. But if there is rumor going around that AMC is interested in picking the show up, that's a lot better than not hearing anything at all...that's the way I see it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally with Esaul on this one. Law and Order Light is just that. Law and Order is a NYC show. The mothership was enjoying one of it's best season creatively. They were on the cusp of their 21st season and they got cancelled for LOLA? Please give me a break. Here's to AMC for hopefully reviving the franchise.

At this rate LOLA will not be on til January, February the earliest.
And it will fail miserably.

MissKittyFantastico

gahks said...

While I agree in principle with janethyland and Esaul, if Dick Wolf, Blake Masters and Rene Balcer continue to make intelligent casting choices as they have with Skeet Ulrich, the tide may turn in LOLA's favour. Of course, everyone including me would love to see the mothership back on TV as well!

My suggestion? Cancel 'CI' and put the mothership in its place, if and only if AMC talks fail.

Esaul said...

I don't think CI should be cancelled. Not everyone will like the actors on the show. Or may hate when someone leaves. Look what we've been through with the Mothership and the cast that have been on there...it made me wanna stab my eyes out everytime I saw an episode with Green and Cassidy...geesh...but it picked right up after she left and got better from there. CI could get better...you never know...

Anonymous said...

janethyland has been pushing an agenda against the mothership since the day it got cancelled.

AMC IS DEFINITELY looking at the show, that I can tell you with certainty, and can afford it. Look for this to happen by the end of July for a 16 episode run. The actors are not expensive, and keep in mind, S Epatha is leaving.

The fact is that broadcast TV is dying anyway and cable will be the home for all future dramas -- including SVU and LOLA -- within 5 years.

Law & Order is a stable show with a very loyal fanbase, much more so than CI, which has done well on CI. AMC would love it to boost it's other quality programming. For example, I don't know much about the other shows on AMC but I hear they are excellent. Now, I'll follow L&O over there and know more about it.

As for LOLA, it will fail miserably unless the mothership survives. Why? Not because it's a bad show. But because the L&O franchise needs the mothership to make sense. CSI didn't drop the original when it went to Miami and NY. Same thing here.

The best thing for the whole franchise would be if NBC just punted on it entirely and let a cable network pick it up. You could build a network around the franchise and have millions of viewers and do crossovers and make it a real masterpiece. NBC screwed up the marketing of the franchise and it's ashame, but it's stable enough to survive somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

janethyland has been pushing an agenda against the mothership since the day it got cancelled.

Fact is, there are writers other than Balcer so that's just silly.

AMC can afford it or it wouldn't make the inquiry. It's not like it's invsible to the fees involved. But it would be the masterpiece of the network. Should a deal with TNT be worked out, look for this to happen by the end of July for a 16 episode run. The actors are not expensive, and keep in mind, S Epatha is leaving.

Some are saying "but what about the SVU sets"...doesn't matter. The DA sets are the same and you could build a new squad room set relatively easily.

This is actually a wonderful thing long term for those who believe this is more about Season 21. The fact is that broadcast TV is dying anyway and cable will be the home for all future dramas -- including SVU and LOLA -- within 5 years.

Law & Order is a stable show with a very loyal fanbase, much more so than CI, which has done well on CI. AMC would love it to boost it's other quality programming. For example, I don't know much about the other shows on AMC but I hear they are excellent. Now, I'll follow L&O over there and know more about it.

As for LOLA, it will fail miserably unless the mothership survives. Why? Not because it's a bad show. But because the L&O franchise needs the mothership to make sense. CSI didn't drop the original when it went to Miami and NY. Same thing here.

The best thing for the whole franchise would be if NBC just punted on it entirely and let a cable network pick it up. You could build a network (like AMC) around the franchise and have millions of viewers and do crossovers and make it a real masterpiece. NBC screwed up the marketing of the franchise and it's ashame, but it's stable enough to survive somewhere else.

The mothership will survive.

janethyland said...

Your comments are very strange and suggest your own agenda.
I have no interest in the Mothership...but i think TNT has some say in what happens to it. Wallyhorse has more technical information about that but I havent seen her post here in a while.

Wallyhorse said...

TNT does have the repeat rights and could wind up squashing such a deal, however, I suspect it could be done as a three-way situation: New episodes air first on AMC, then "repurposed" on NBC before TNT gets them a year later. That is one way it can work.

Wallyhorse said...

I can see this happening on a couple of fronts:

1. AMC is owned by Cablevision, who also owns the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden. Given what happened with the Jets stadium in Manhattan that Cablevision helped shoot down fearing loss of concert business (and some older Jets fans don't forgive Cablevision for that because they felt the team needed to be actually playing in New York proper to be made whole), this could be Cablevision looking at this as a way to mend fences with some of those who actually felt that stadium was needed to "truly bring the Jets back to New York" as they were before they left Shea Stadium for The Meadowlands in 1984(yes, I know, it seems far-fetched, but it might very well be given "L & O" historically did its best ratings in New York and it is a show filmed in NYC, getting it back would be a way in the minds of Cablevision to get some people "on their side" in general).

2. If Jeff Zucker was behind the cancellation for reasons other than economics (i.e.: What I said earlier about Zucker actually doing it to get back at Turner for signing Conan o'Brien to a new show on TBS, with that being the reason NBC didn't want TNT paying additional funds), then it would be a way for NBC-Universal to save face because the last thing some at NBC would want, and especially if Zucker is fired as some expect will happen the minute Comcast takes over is for it turning out that Zucker's long-running feud with Conan was the real reason he reneged on a deal that had been in place since March for the 21st season of the mothership.

This may also be a case of ego at play:

The head of Cablevision is James Dolan, who in the eyes of many is "Public Enemy #1" in New York not only because of the way he is considered responsible for scuttling the west side stadium that would have been the new home of the New York Jets (instead of the Meadowlands stadium the Jets and Giants will share which as it turns out makes more sense in this economy), but because of the way he has run the Knicks into the ground for a decade and because of the way he has run Cablevision. "Dolan Bashing" has been at times seemingly a sport of its own in the New York tabloids for years, especially when it's been well-deserved as it's been for some time.

Besides the fact that "L & O" likely can bring in people who nomally don't watch AMC at all into the mix (with many of them then checking out the two most notable shows on AMC, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, both of which are heavily critically acclaimed), as well bring in more of what has traditionally been AMC's core audience and being able to increase fees to cable companies, I suspect this may be driven personally by "Guitar Jim" (as Dolan is also known). It might very well be, even if it's only in his own mind that he can be "the man who saved Law & Order" if this actually happened, and in the process mending fences with many in New York over what has happened in the past with Cablevision and the Knicks in particular, especially since "L & O" of course is a New York-filmed show. That to me might also be in play here over and above any financial benefit to Cablevision for doing this.

Wallyhorse said...

I can see this happening on a couple of fronts:

1. AMC is owned by Cablevision, who also owns the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden. Given what happened with the Jets stadium in Manhattan that Cablevision helped shoot down fearing loss of concert business (and some older Jets fans don't forgive Cablevision for that because they felt the team needed to be actually playing in New York proper to be made whole), this could be Cablevision looking at this as a way to mend fences with some of those who actually felt that stadium was needed to "truly bring the Jets back to New York" as they were before they left Shea Stadium for The Meadowlands in 1984(yes, I know, it seems far-fetched, but it might very well be given "L & O" historically did its best ratings in New York and it is a show filmed in NYC, getting it back would be a way in the minds of Cablevision to get some people "on their side" in general).

2. If Jeff Zucker was behind the cancellation for reasons other than economics (i.e.: What I said earlier about Zucker actually doing it to get back at Turner for signing Conan o'Brien to a new show on TBS, with that being the reason NBC didn't want TNT paying additional funds), then it would be a way for NBC-Universal to save face because the last thing some at NBC would want, and especially if Zucker is fired as some expect will happen the minute Comcast takes over is for it turning out that Zucker's long-running feud with Conan was the real reason he reneged on a deal that had been in place since March for the 21st season of the mothership.

This may also be a case of ego at play:

The head of Cablevision is James Dolan, who in the eyes of many is "Public Enemy #1" in New York not only because of the way he is considered responsible for scuttling the west side stadium that would have been the new home of the New York Jets (instead of the Meadowlands stadium the Jets and Giants will share which as it turns out makes more sense in this economy), but because of the way he has run the Knicks into the ground for a decade and because of the way he has run Cablevision. "Dolan Bashing" has been at times seemingly a sport of its own in the New York tabloids for years, especially when it's been well-deserved as it's been for some time.

Besides the fact that "L & O" likely can bring in people who nomally don't watch AMC at all into the mix (with many of them then checking out the two most notable shows on AMC, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, both of which are heavily critically acclaimed), as well bring in more of what has traditionally been AMC's core audience and being able to increase fees to cable companies, I suspect this may be driven personally by "Guitar Jim" (as Dolan is also known). It might very well be, even if it's only in his own mind that he can be "the man who saved Law & Order" if this actually happened, and in the process mending fences with many in New York over what has happened in the past with Cablevision and the Knicks in particular, especially since "L & O" of course is a New York-filmed show. That to me might also be in play here over and above any financial benefit to Cablevision for doing this.

janethyland said...

Ah there you are wallyhorse. I thought youd be here sooner or later.

janethyland said...

Linus Roache has just joined cast of "The Miraculous Year" for HBO,executive producer Kathryn Bigelow...how did they scoop her! It looks fascinating, the black and white photo of him.

I hope they bring this over the pond to us!

Wallyhorse said...

With Linus Roache going to a new series on HBO, I now wonder if AMC were successful in getting new episodes of the original series, would DW then try to get Stephanie March to replace Roache as EADA (a role I've actually gone down before because that's the route I would have taken three years ago when Fred Thompson left and of course we saw as a result Jack become the DA.

Wallyhorse said...

And speaking of the mothership:

My actual belief is NBC canceled it to make way for LOLA if so because NBC can "repurpose" episodes of LOLA on USA Network, something they are not able to do with the mothership due to the TNT deal that was originally done in 1998 in a completely different business environment. NBC-Universal seems to need to have the shows it produces (including "House," which runs on FOX) be able to air "repurposed" either on USA Network or in reverse on NBC, and I think that did play a factor in the cancellation.

janethyland said...

Yep...its about money...or lack of it...look at the problems with a solid enough film like "Bond 007" series. Thats in the bin because MGM is near bankrucy.
Tough times for entertainment.

And cast/crew move on very quickly it seems.
Elizabeth Rohm has signed for another show...and isnt sam w doing broadway?

janethyland said...

And ratings.
whatever the fan interest, it was NBC's lowest rated scripted drama...and on the bubble according to TVbythenumbers.

It was never ratings that were going to pull it through.

We will never know. We can only speculate.

Wallyhorse said...

I certainly won't question that the studios are broke. Check out a YouTube video saying that Hollywood is in fact broke:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsPUntzwJDY

Dalton said...

A thought crossed my mind this morning: do you think of the mothership does get shipped off to AMC, that they'll mess with the intro (not the opening voice over, but the actual theme song)?

Kinda like how CI got it's intro revamped for its move to USA by interjecting the Trial by Jury theme and shots from the TBJ intro.

Even though I love the current intro, it would be nice to see what AMC could do with it.

Joshua Morton said...

I think the original series does better with the TBJ theme than CI does. IMO. CI should have done something more original to it's move to USA Network.

I hope AMC/Wolf/NBC(U) pulls through with this deal!

All Things Law and Order said...

Dalton, I would like to think they wouldn't change the theme because it is so iconic. I suspect, though, that cast changes could be in order since most seem to be moving on to other jobs and Alana is pregnant. Who knows, though, Sam has done L&O and plays at the same time, so maybe there is room for more than one job for some of the cast.

Dalton said...

@All Things Law and Order

Well if they do have to make a huge cast change, I hope they can do it a little more gracefully than CI did.

I too think they won't change the opening theme (and I hope they don't because like you said, it's iconic and something that's been a staple of the series for so long), but I still wouldn't be surprised if they changed the intro still, even if it's just updating the "zoom in, zoom out" black and white stills.

P.S. - Thanks for all the updates!

janethyland said...

Unless, of course, these are the same discussions that VDO says he is currently having with AMC about a "new show", as reported on The Reel recently.

Wallyhorse said...

Jane:

This is much different:

I don't think people outside New York, and especially if they don't follow the New York teams have any idea of how hated James Dolan really is. Dolan is despised by many in New York for his handling of the Knicks and other situations to the point where many in New York want the NBA to force Dolan to sell the Knicks to another operator (and if necessary, the Rangers and Madison Square Garden as well). Being able to get "L & O" back running and saving the many jobs in NYC that come with it may very well be Dolan trying to change public opinion about him in New York by trying to pull this off.