"Law & Order" may get reprieve from death-producer

* ‘The patient is not dead,’ Wolf says

* Show provided work for actors, especially minorities

* Generated $1.5 bln in business for NYC over 20 years

By Walker Simon

NEW YORK, May 18 (BestGrowthStock) – The U.S. television show “Law
& Order” may be revived after it was due to be canceled,
offering hope to fans, actors and a city on the verge of losing
a lucrative drama showcasing New York’s quirks and characters.

NBC (GE.N: )(CMCSA.O: ) last week said it had canceled the
crime series after 20 seasons, but “Law & Order” producer Dick
Wolf hinted the show might be resuscitated.

“The patient is not dead,” Wolf said in a statement on
Tuesday. “It is in a medically induced coma, and we are hoping
for a cure.”

Wolf told The New York Times he was seeking other offers
for the show; a two-hour “Law & Order” TV movie was possible.

Nationwide, an appeal to save the show has drawn more than
17,000 people to the Facebook group “Save Law & Order!”

New York City says the series generated $79 million in
business a season, or about $1.5 billion over the life of the
show, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised for shooting on
location and promoting New York’s “depth and versatility.”

“I can’t believe they want to cancel it,” Olympic skiing
gold medalist Lindsey Vonn wrote on Facebook. “Maybe if we all
get together and support the show they will keep it on air.”

With its revolving regular cast and more than 10,000 guest
actors, “Law & Order” drew inspiration from real crimes and
events, giving it a “ripped from the headlines” appeal.

Launched at the peak of New York’s crime wave, when there
were 2,245 homicides in 1990, “Law & Order” brought back
on-location shooting for TV dramas in the city.

“Law & Order” was almost shot in Canada, but New York’s
push to eliminate bureaucracy for TV and film productions
persuaded “Law & Order” producers to shoot locally, said Mike
Hodge, head of the Screen Actors Guild in New York.

More than 150 television shows are produced in New York,
the mayor’s office said, generating $5 billion in business.

The show provided a wealth of opportunities for actors
playing a colorful array of victims, criminals and witnesses.

“Law & Order” produced two New York spinoffs still in
production, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit.” They offer about 20 guest roles per
episode versus more than 30 — and one time 48 — for the
flagship, said Lynn Kressler, the show’s casting director since
it began.

“When I first heard the show was closing down, it was like
a close friend had just died,” said Hodge, who acted as a chef,
an attorney and a judge on the show.

The show gave many actors their first screen exposure.

Jennifer Garner, Clare Danes, Felicity Huffman, Amanda
Peet, Mira Sorvino, William H. Macy and Samuel L. Jackson had
among their earliest on-camera appearances on it, Kressler
said.

Non-white actors would also feel the cancellation’s sting.

“It was very good at casting many minority actors,” said
agent Ken Park.

“They were one of the few shows who regularly cast
Asian-American actors,” said Tisa Chang, director of the Pan
Asian Repertory Theatre. “They would focus not only on
Chinatown (but also) … South Asians, Indian-Americans,
Indians as well as Southeast Asians.”

No other show has been shot on so many New York locations,
the mayor’s office said.

“The idea was to reflect the canvas that is New York, I
think we succeeded in doing that,” Kressler said.

The show has been aired by NBC Universal, which is owned by
General Electric. Comcast Corp is in the process of buying a
majority stake in NBC Universal.

Investment Analysis

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Doina Chiacu)

“Law & Order” may get reprieve from death-producer