Network regimes come and go, ratings rise and (recently) fall, but one thing has been consistent at NBC for almost a quarter-century: the presence of producer Dick Wolf and his LAW & ORDER franchise. Hard times have come to L&O, and what was once a powerhouse triple-feature for the network is now just SVU, a show that hasn’t even seen a 2 rating (or a timeslot win) in a long time. (Particularly unfortunate in a season that’s seen competitor CSI revivified by new cast members Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue.) Nevertheless, NBC announced today that SVU will be returning for a 14th season–partly, no doubt, because its in-house studio produces the show and series episodes will rerun on cable TV forever.
The new deal with Wolf also includes a pick-up of the producer’s new series CHICAGO FIRE, a drama that looks to be exactly what the title implies: an ensemble procedural where the heroes are firefighters instead of cops, set in the Windy City instead of the Big Apple, but that will no doubt feature Wolf’s trademark brisk just-the-facts-ma’am tone.
This boosts NBC’s pre-Upfront pickups to 5 comedies and 2 dramas, so Monday’s announcements are likely to be much more about the network’s specific fall schedule than many additional new arrivals.