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'Law & Order': Really old -- and canceled

[This report has been updated]

NBC finally confirmed Friday afternoon that it will put "Law & Order" out of our misery when it airs its now-series finale episode on Monday, May 24.

On the bright side, NBC also announced that a new "Law & Order" spinoff, "Law & Order: Los Angeles" - "LOLA" to its friends - has sprung like the phoenix from the ashes of the dead parent show.

And, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will be back for the 2010-11 season.

"The full measure of the collective contributions made by Dick Wolf and his 'Law & Order' franchise over the last two decades to the success of NBC and Universal Media Studios cannot be overstated," NBC Universal Television Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin in a statement, adding "The legacy of his original 'Law & Order' series will continue to make an impact like no other series before."

Gaspin's the guy who got to stand in front of a couple hundred reporters and TV critics in January and announce the network was going to move Jay Leno back to late night and would bump Conan by half an hour. We hope he's well paid for all the cleaning up he's having to do since getting his job less than a year ago.

Friday's announcement gives closure to The Reporters Who Cover TV, who'd been all a'gog since Thursday after hearing word NBC might cancel its long-in-the-tooth drama crime/courtroom drama.

"Law & Order" has been staggering along on the network's primetime schedule the past few years because it seemed important to break "Gunsmoke's" record of 20 seasons on the air - and, since NBC bought out Universal to create NBC/Universal, the company has also owned the series.

Which, yes, means NBC Universal had been holding its own feet to the flame as it negotiated the fate of "Law & Order."

On Thursday, NBC suits played coy in response to a report the network had definitely cancelled the show. "Law & Order" staffers got whiplash that afternoon from all the conflicting information being thrown at them by various parties. Everyone was in a doodah, and continued in that condition until NBC finally coughed up the news mid-day Friday.

In its heyday, "Law & Order" was an important tentpole on NBC's primetime lineup, averaging about 19 million viewers each week. These days, it's averaging around 7.3 million viewers. More problematic: the show's audience is very old. About 64 percent of the show's audience -- 4.7 million people -- are aged 50 and older.

This is important because NBC executives have steadfastly maintained for years that they do all their ad sales business according to how many 18-49 year olds their shows can deliver to advertisers. The network does not include in its sales pitches any viewer who is over the age of 49. Which means the "sellable" audience of "Law & Order" amount to about 2.6 million viewers, though that number probably also includes the few kids and teens who are watching the show and who, we assume, advertisers don't mind reaching.

NBC is going to make its sales pitch for its new 2010-11 TV season primetime plans to those advertisers, in New York City, on Monday (it will unveil its new schedule to the press late Sunday afternoon.)

The show's creator, Dick Wolf, had had his heart set on breaking "Gunsmoke's record. That venerable cowboy drama aired on CBS from September of 1955 through March of 1975; it, starred James Arness as the super-honest and utterly un-sexy Marhsall Matt Dillon, and Amanda Blake as beauty-spotted Kitty Russell, the "saloon owner" with a heart of gold and a thing for Marshall Dillon.

This is probably a good place to note that a "season" doesn't mean the same thing nowadays as it did back in "Gunsmoke's" day, when men were men and a broadcast network was a broadcast network At the end of its 20 seasons, "Gunsmoke" has churned out 635 episodes. At the end of its 20-year-run, "Law & Order" will have produced a paltry 456 episodes. We rest our case.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 14, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Next: NBC picks up series from David Kelley -- and Conan O'Brien


I've been a fan since day 1. And, just as with any show, there comes a time to end it. However, this ai'nt the time. I'd like to see a couple of more years out of L&O and beat out Gunsmoke (a series I really, REALLY depised). I also watch SVU and Criminal Intent, too. What IS the tie-in between NBC & USA?

Posted by: hobsry7350 | May 14, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

WTF? Over 50 is "Really Old" now ? Are you guys hiring kids right out of the cradle nowadays ?
Hate to tell ya but 50's the new 30, Ms. Morales. Also, tell it to Eric Clapton, Santana, The Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers - and the list goes on and on and on that they are all "Really, Really Old" now. And as far as writers go, I hate to tell this author that many writers hit their stride right about the big 5 - 0.
Next time, try an interesting title without turning off your readership so that you won't wind up in the unemployment line and bread line - until you yourself are Reallly Reallllly Old !

Posted by: luckyevan93 | May 14, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Somebody has it bad for "Gunsmoke"...
I think the current Anthony Anderson Law & Order is great. I think the assistant DA is smoking hot. If they focused more on the "Law" side of the program I think younger viewers would start coming back. Almost every episode seems to wrap up with the same Perry Mason formula though. Law & Order SVU has tried to mix it up by making the new assistant DA (Sharon Stone) more involved, but I think it's taking away from Meloni and Hargitay's characters. But if you put Alana de la Garza on the beat with Anthony Anderson you would have instant gold.
But NBC will probably cancel everything and replace it with different versions of "Minute to Win It". NBC does a great job of ruining good things.

Posted by: redhulk | May 14, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah and I'm 39, so I'm just "really old"... not "really really old". But at least I don't know the character names and exact episode count of "Gunsmoke", because that would just make me an incredibly boring loser with no life.

Posted by: redhulk | May 14, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Some of those Gunsmoke episodes were only a half hour.

Posted by: honoluluartsbeat | May 14, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Some of those Gunsmoke shows were only a half hour.

Posted by: honoluluartsbeat | May 14, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I am 58. I work full time in a very demanding healthcare career, run 3 miles everyday and recently became a permant guardian (along with my very, very, very old husband of 63) to a five year old child. Oops - forgot - I love Law and Order - must be my senility setting in.

Posted by: priscila | May 14, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TheNervousCat | May 14, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Another link that the show has been canceled...

Posted by: TheNervousCat | May 14, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, you pulled a bit of a Shales here. Leaving out important info such as how many seasons L&O has been on the air, the year it premiered... C'mon, you're better than Shales.

Posted by: NotForYou1 | May 14, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm more upset about ABC canceling FlashForward than NBC canceling Law & Order.

Posted by: TheNervousCat | May 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It'd be a shame to see L&O leave prime time. No doubt it'll be with us forever in reruns, but it's one of the few programs out there trying to address topical grown-up issues.

Posted by: AnonymousEric | May 14, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I would love to have Law and Order revisit some of the previous episodes to see if the characters went on to do what we thought they would. The episode Killerz involved a little girl who killed a boy. The choice was to either institutionalize her or put her in treatment. Now over 10 years later, did she kill again.

Some of these former story ideas brought back for a revisit would help invigorate the series. I have been watching since the beginning. It is my favorite of the L&O iterations. I would love for it to continue. Maybe move to USA like L&OCI was will keep it going.

It is still a good and engaging show.

Posted by: jisaac1 | May 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Gunsmoke" may have been only a half hour, but there was more writing in a given episode than any of the L&O episodes of the past decade, which didn't write the 'ripped from the headlines' stories so much as did recreations from a 5th grade understanding of modern law enforcement and liberalism. Suck it, Mr. Wolf.

"What IS the tie-in between NBC & USA?" Both are owned by Universal.

Posted by: steelers_rule123 | May 14, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TheNervousCat | May 14, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't feel bad that advertisers consider people over 50 "old."

Feel proud!

By the time you've reached 50, your major stuff-buying days are behind you and your brand preferences are set. You are now focusing on more important things in life than what your neighbors think about your car, and you are no longer gullible enough to be swayed by ads.

Posted by: pmendez | May 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"WTF? Over 50 is "Really Old" now ? Are you guys hiring kids right out of the cradle nowadays ?
Hate to tell ya but 50's the new 30, Ms. Morales. Also, tell it to Eric Clapton, Santana, The Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers - and the list goes on and on and on that they are all "Really, Really Old" now. And as far as writers go, I hate to tell this author that many writers hit their stride right about the big 5 - 0."

Dude, chill out. It isn't Lisa that thinks that people 50 and over don't count. It's Nielsen, the networks, and the advertisers. They'd rather have 1.2 million 18-34 year olds than 2.4 million 50+. And men 18-34 are the holy grail because, ironically all things considered, they don't watch much TV unless it's a sporting event.

Lisa don't make the rules; she just reports them. Perhaps if the 50+ started some type of campaign to say "hey guys, we're still here with money to spend. who do you think spoils the grandkids with the expensive crap you peddle?" they would change their minds.

I feel your pain, in 5 more years, I won't count either.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | May 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: angie12106 | May 14, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Too bad. I always enjoyed Law and Order. Sorry to see it go.

Posted by: NewEra | May 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Damn, L&O is still on the air ... or was until today?? That show should've been dunked 10 years ago!

Posted by: chris-gso | May 14, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank God and about time! Now if someone could just stick a fork into the who CSI franchise and the rest of the procedurals.

Posted by: dre7861 | May 14, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

L&O may have slipped over the years and become just a bit too routine but at least it kept us away from all the stupid reality shows. I'll miss L&O, one of the few shows that I will try and not miss. I think it was the best out of the L&O series.

Posted by: mdembski1 | May 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

CBS had originally cancelled Gunsmoke, but it was a favorite show of the wife of the head of CBS. So to make room in the schedule, CBS cancelled Gilligans Island - a move that created a massive cultural disaster that probably explains the deficit, teenage pregnancy, drug use, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the war in Iraq/Afganistan.

Posted by: nonot | May 14, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I watched it going all the way back to the Chris Noth/George Dzundza (sp?) days when Michael Moriarty was the assistant DA. The show went through tons of cast changes and largely didn't miss a beat, yet somehow a lot of life went out of it when Jerry Orbach left, even though Dennis Farina was a capable replacement. The show is, in its own way, comfort food. You knew there would always be a story "ripped from the headlines," a misdirection about the prime suspect, the bust, the trip up in the prosecution that gets fixed in the last 10 minutes. Not challenging--but dependable as all get out.

Posted by: jhpurdy | May 14, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I quit watching all of the law order shows several years ago. It was an okay franchise for awhile, but it just went on and on and on. I'm also getting tired of the CSI shows, and wouldn't mind seeing them go. Maybe we should take a lesson from British TV, where they often plan to give a limited number of seasons from the start, instead of running every show into the ground.

Posted by: jb777 | May 14, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

So I'm "very old"?! News bulletin: I have no intention of retiring until I'm "really very very old" (age 70) so that's just going to be one less job in the market for the rest of you- and since apparently I don't spend any money - I feel free to donate all that salary to charity and not buy a single new consumer product for the next 20 years.

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 14, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so! By the way, I'm not very old, but am old. We even watch reruns now!

Posted by: lswonder | May 14, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Only 456 episodes? I thought there were 4,000 episodes. I thought it would never Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune...Family Feud, Price is Right. I thought there was some kind of unwritten law against canceling the show. I can't stand the new cast. It was past time to bury it. And I actually liked L&O: Trial by Jury which they canceled after 2 episodes. That's what happens when you put a new show on Friday night. What were they thinking? Friday night (????) Criminal Intent was stupid. SVU is pretty good...some of the time. They'll all be relics someday.

Posted by: forgetthis | May 14, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

luckyevan93 et al: I'm 54. I run. I bike. I play competitive softball and table tennis. I'm in good shape. But 54 is 54. It ain't the new 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 53. That's just (even) more Boomer self-delusion! Tell it to my knees!

Posted by: bcamarda2 | May 14, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Law and Order" hasn't been canceled. Just "Law and Order Classic." Its spawn continue on. I can't remember which one has the morose cop with the perpetual 5:00 shadow who gained tons of weight. That was my least favorite. Can they merge "LAO" and all of the "CSI" spinoffs and bury them together?

Posted by: Sutter | May 14, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The 18-49 crowd naturally doesn't appreciate good writing, acting and production. Nor are they intellectually competent to follow a complicated plot. They are more inclined to watch crap like Dancing with the Stars and the loathsome American Idol, when they are not wasting time in the internet cesspool. Too bad for the cast and crew. It was a great run and one to be proud of. I'm 61 and when I do watch the boob tube, its usually L&O types of dramas and just about anything aired on PBS. Yes, I am an intellectual snob and proud of it.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | May 14, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Cripes that was the only show left on network TV that I still watched. I am sick to death of crappy canned reality shows and the police dramas that are left that want to freak you out with gory fake human remains.

Posted by: LaureninGlenBurnie | May 14, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse





Posted by: twotimetuna | May 14, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I'll drive my Law and Order SUV out to LOLA-land.

Posted by: bs2004 | May 14, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Old" people spend money too. I don't understnad why the advertisers wouldn't want over 50 year old consumers seeing their ads while watching L&O. NBC doesn't have but a couple of good shows on their station. It seems like they are trying to screw up. First with The Tonight Show and now with L&O. If it's "not broke, don't fix it." They are making a big mistake. We "old pepole" are going to be around for another 40 or so years.

I want my L&O back and it doesn't need revamping. I love Jack McCoy, Cutter, Lupo, Bernard, and Rubirosa. I sometimes hate their liberal and blantantly obvious agenda. However, I love the show.

Posted by: cajunpharmacist | May 14, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad to see L&O go. I stopped watching SVU a year or two ago because its stories were getting so convoluted. Still love the original L&O and Criminal Intent, though. But I guess I'm "really, really old."

Posted by: gibsongirl1248 | May 14, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I am in my early forties and have been watching since the beginning, we are not all internet junkies.

Posted by: lsutigers70726 | May 14, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry you Gunsmoke haters. I'll take Matt Dillon over Jack McCoy any day of the week. The writing was superior too. L & O rehashes the same plot each week, stolen or should I say "ripped from the headlines." That said the earlier years weren't too bad, and of course we can see the reruns thirty times a day.

Posted by: RobRoy1 | May 14, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that hurts! LAO prime was just getting its footing resettled with the latest cast line-up. Would one or two more years have hurt, especially in light of a possible record run for an astounsingly great show. By the way, I'm still 3 years short of 50. My niece, who also loves the show, is all of 18 years of age. Even at 19 years, I still say that the networks are too quick to cancel shows, (even with good potential,) especially NBC. Common you guys?!?!?!

Posted by: mcafrokee | May 14, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that hurts! LAO prime was just getting its footing resettled with the latest cast line-up. Would one or two more years have hurt, especially in light of a possible record run for an astounsingly great show. By the way, I'm still 3 years short of 50. My niece, who also loves the show, is all of 18 years of age. Even at 19 years, I still say that the networks are too quick to cancel shows, (even with good potential,) especially NBC. Common you guys?!?!?!

Posted by: mcafrokee | May 14, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that hurts! LAO prime was just getting its footing resettled with the latest cast line-up. Would one or two more years have hurt, especially in light of a possible record run for an astounsingly great show. By the way, I'm still 3 years short of 50. My niece, who also loves the show, is all of 18 years of age. Even at 19 years, I still say that the networks are too quick to cancel shows, (even with good potential,) especially NBC. Common you guys?!?!?!

Posted by: mcafrokee | May 14, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

NBC is not noted for its intelligent moves and compared to most of the trash on TV today this was a quality show, I would have hoped they would have tried other options like moving it, but that makes to much sense. They'll probably come up with some trash reality show which will last a season and garner less viewers than Law and Order.

Posted by: imgibson | May 14, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: truth1 | May 14, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

NBC is Freakin Nuts!! I have watched this show from the beginning, and have loved it. I like how they try to bring to view the current events. I absolutely refuse to watch those STUPID Reality Shows, there are too many of Those on, they should have left L&O alone. I will no longer watch anything on NBC. This network is so messed up, who wants to watch and idiot like J Leno!!

Posted by: auntieang69 | May 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a facebook campaign simialr to the Betty White/SNL campaign............

Posted by: hobsry7350 | May 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Now it belongs to the Ages. They show it on TNT about three times a day. I've always loved it-even before it and I got really old, but that was twenty years ago. I was just a baby when it started. And so was Jack McCoy.

Posted by: Julia_123 | May 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Law and Order is one of the last quality shows left on TV - too bad a good series has to be cancelled to likely make way for more "Real Life" TRASH TV. TV is supposed to be entertaining, not the same old garbage you see everywhere else 24/7.

Posted by: bhuyck | May 14, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I love Law & Order and I don't like the age group remarks. It is beyond my comprehension to take off a great show with fantastic actors and keep several shows on that only a moron would watch.
So very disappointed. Shame on you guys!

Posted by: cheneysandy | May 14, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Such sad news! The best show on T.V.
Why do they always take the good ones off and leave the assanine ones on!

Posted by: cheneysandy | May 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I know that the show has had some ups and downs especially in more recent years, but I am still an avid watcher and dedicated to the show. The actors are excellent and the stories are compelling. I don't feel as though I'm watching a night time soap opera with questionably talented actors who are simply jumping into bed with one another. Maybe that's what sells, but I don't find it intellectually satisfying or personally very appealing.

Posted by: williamglynn | May 14, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Who is running NBC? They are totally out of their minds! Here's another reason never to watch that network again!

Cable is the only place anymore for quality programming. I really do hope TNT picks up "Law and Order" as has been rumored.

Posted by: DFi4487 | May 14, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I am truly sorry to see Law & Order being cancelled. If anything, since Vincent D'Onfrio left CI that show should have been cancelled instead. Guess I'll watch the reruns on TNT and other channels. NBC is crazy to do it. would love to know more about Law & Order, Los Angeles. Is it going to be like NCIS, Los Angeles? Will be interesting to see in the future.

Thank you Law & Order...surly going to miss you, but as long as reruns are in...I'll be watching.

Posted by: msgeorgiaplus | May 14, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Although I have watched since season 1 (remember Ms Merkerson as a night cleaning person on an episode?), I will not really miss the show (that much). Nothing wrong with the current cast, I just think the formula has gotten old and run its course. I still watch, but its no longer "must see." Despite my criticism about the "formula" wearout, still one of the better "cop shows" or dramas on TV. I'll always remember the most recent episode - it was classic with OLD Sam Waterston slapping himself doing the scene from Chinatown - funniest thing I've seen in a long time. NOT looking forward to LOLA at all - the spinoffs pale in comparison. Although did like Noth & Annabella Sciorra on LOCI.

Posted by: notamullethead | May 14, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I was almost overcome with joy when I learned they were cancelling this reality show! Where else can you see a show that depicts every criminal as a white man. Check the Justice Department crime statistics all you fans and maybe you will realize what a load this show has been. Not likely though...

Posted by: numbersch13 | May 14, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

NBC keeps making dumb moves.

They've been moving the show all over the schedule, so it's hard to find and impossible to make watching it a habit. Running it two or three times a week, so chances are you'll catch a repeat.

And here they are trying to fill the hole in the schedule left by the Leno debacle and they dump a dependable show. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Posted by: emacee1701 | May 14, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

What's with this whole, "You have to be an old person to enjoy Law & Order" crap? I don't think that's true at all. I'm only 14 years old, about to be 15, and I thoroughly enjoy watching Law & Order. So do a lot of my friends. My parents got me hooked on the show when I was a little kid and I've loved it ever since. I don't watch it all the time, but I am a little sad it's going off air. I'm not a huge fan of all the new cast. I'm more of an SVU fan, but still, it's kind of sad. Oh well. I guess it will be replaced with more crap 'reality' TV.

Posted by: bhodges0012 | May 14, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

As a casual fan of Law & Order, I am bothered less by the cancellation than by NBC's attitude toward people over 49 years old who they don't even count as viewers. Perhaps those of us 50 and above should take our walkers and move over to ABC or CBS!

Posted by: gestev1 | May 14, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

For my money, it was never as good as when Michael Moriarty was the prosecutor. He was perfect. And while I like my cupcakes as much as anyone, Richard Brooks was the best assistant.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 14, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I AM FURIOUS!!! This is my FAVORITE TV show! I love all the Law & Orders, but this original was the best of the bunch! I want my L&O!!!!!.......Bad NBC!!!

Posted by: stephaniedeprima | May 14, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice of you to let this incredibly old person comment on your site. Perhaps I'll take my disposable income and concentrate on products advertised on the other two broadcast channels. L&O was a beautifully acted, well dircted classic with one of the finest actors in New York--Sam Waterston. In addition, their regulars and supporting cast was top-notch. God forbid--its replacement will probably be a sleazy, violent, disgusting hack show which is what passes for entertainment today. At least we'll have the reruns---

Posted by: amac3 | May 14, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Since when is being over fifty "very old?" What an insulting comment."Law and Order" is still a wonderful show and I'll really miss it. I'm so disappointed about the cancellation. The network's head honcho Zucker should have been fired a long time ago for wreaking havoc with the NBC nightly line up. "Law and Order" was bounced around from night to night the past couple of years and few viewers could find it. Zucker should have been bounced instead.

Posted by: pjsilva | May 14, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

My friends laugh at me, as I can recite the L&O intro "In the criminal justice system.." And I will miss the boink boink. And if I was gay, which, I am not, Mariska Hargatay would totally be my squeeze

Posted by: mildlyinebriated | May 14, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

The writer did a poor job in this story. He/she didn't say if the L&O: SVU will have the same cast. It is obvious he didn't like L&O, but many of us do. His writing is snobbery at its worst. Someday he/she (I didn't even notice his/her name, that's how important, or is it impotent, he/she is) will be 50 and find out it's not old. Sloppy writing about what could have been an interesting story. I'll read it elsewhere (lots of the media are covering it) to find out what's really going on). Washing Post: shame. You wasted my time by reading the non-story and then having to chew you out about the sloppiness of it. You usually have good writers. Where'd you get this man/woman? Working below scale?

Posted by: murzek1 | May 14, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I just noticed: the writer is a woman. How old? I'll bet not very. She seems quite immature in her writing. Washington Post, what do you do with your employees over 50...give them the axe and bring in the young crew who can't piece together a simple story?

Posted by: murzek1 | May 14, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I beg your pardon, I am 32 and my husband 33 and we both LOVE Law & Order. Television nowadays is full of reality shows and L&O is a welcome change to this fact. I for one blame the lack of viewers on the frequent schedule changes. If there were more consistency I think there would be more viewers. But what do I know, I'm just a huge fan of the show. I say carry on and don't leave me to watching reruns on weekend morning.

Posted by: msubrat | May 15, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

l and O is my wife's fav tv show. We liked it when it was on Friday nights as well. She will miss Linus Roach the most. Hopefully he can now appear on the bigger screen like he did before L and O.

Posted by: newenglandpatriot | May 15, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

Who cares. This show has sucked for well over a decade. The best episodes are from the first four or five seasons. NBC went bananas with the political correctness and affirmative action of the Clinton era. They fired everyone worth watching and wrecked the show.

It's been nothing but a liberal diatribe for the last fifteen years.

Good riddance.

Posted by: JohnKrats | May 15, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

A week with Linus Roach is a boring week. Those reality shows are for the feeble minded.We hope Linus Roach (Attorney Cutter) gets his own show and kicks butt !

Posted by: newenglandpatriot | May 15, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Correction....A week without Linus Roach is boring. Why is it when a good show like Moonlight comes along, it too gets cancelled. Crusoe got can celled too. Anything that takes brain power to comprehend gets can celled and crap like " I was on a Japanese game show" and "Deal or no deal " find an audience. The more simple minded the better. I am going over to BBC America.

Posted by: newenglandpatriot | May 15, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

The only L&O worth my time was "Criminal Intent" with Vincent D'Nofrio and Katherine Erbe. When they left, I left. Jesse L. Green held his series together after the death of Jerry Orbach, but his leaving changed that series as well. Ms. Merkerson should be awarded more Emmys and given a million dollar severance package for never having called in a performance over these many years.

SVU should never have been brought to air. SVU contributes to the sad shape our society is in today with all of its focus on sex and violence. Enough already.

Posted by: postosty | May 15, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Oops. That should have been Jesse L. MARTIN., whose character's last name was "Green"

Posted by: postosty | May 15, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

It seems the show became too politically correct for it to survive.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | May 15, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

How about a decent finale to send off L&O? Jesse Martin gets accused of murder and the old L&Os like Carey Lowell, Elizabeth Rohm, Angie Harmon, Chris Noth come back to defend him. Green is found not guilty. McCoy gets forced into retirement. Lt Van Buren dies of cancer. Final scene is at Van Buren's funeral. NBC did a nice finale for ER. Why give a nice finale for L&O.

Posted by: Doctor_Evil | May 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Lisa Lisa Lisa....
Gunsmoke helped put CBS on the ratings map. It was the father of the western TV drama genre, unlike Law & Order which just spawned spin-offs.

As for James Arness as the super-honest and utterly un-sexy Marshal Matt Dillon....
Some of us prefer men that aren't prettier (Brad Pitt) than us. There actually is a wonderfully sexy quality to young Matt Dillon because he is not trying to be sexy. Besides, his crystal blue eyes, shy smile and beautifully large hands have won a number of us.... mature women over!

Have you seen any of the black & white episodes? I doubt it or you might have taken notice of the pre-FCC censorship grittiness the show offered which were far more interesting than the more sanitized color version.
The B&W episodes still hold up quite well. IMHO

So Lisa, go west, young woman...old west. Gunsmoke celebrates its 55th anniversary this fall. Join us and learn more about this American institution we love!

Posted by: flarnchef | May 15, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Flarnchef, can't agree more. Marshal Matt Dillon in the heyday of Gunsmoke and the western era was very sexy in a casual way. Tall, handsome and with wavy dark hair and crystal blue eyes. A bit aloof, but polite, willing to risk it all for for justice. Yes, the black and white episodes before anti guns and violence were some of the best written and tight episodes of any television drama or western then and even now. There are literally thousands of swooning women and hero worship men that were kids (under 50 at the time of the original shows- watching Gunsmoke) Sad that they don't make too many shows like that. Besides having so many eps, Gunsmoke ran the twenty years and had James Arness as Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams remain the entire series 20 years! Amanda Blake, Miss Kitty stayed 19 years. Not many shows can top that. And to compare the Simpsons? that's a cartoon with people's voices not much of a competition.

Posted by: kansasdillon | May 15, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I love all the comments by the over-50s offended because they think the columnist is insulting them. As others have pointed out, it's not the TV columnist who is making that judgment, it's advertisers. They just don't pay money to advertise to people 50 and older. They don't care that "50 is the new 30" now. It isn't to them.

It's why CBS, despite having some of the most watched shows on TV in terms of total viewers, brings in less ad money than Fox and ABC. Advertisers just don't care that there are a lot more bodies watching NCIS than House. It's stupid, but there it is.

I'm honestly more surprised that so many people aren't aware of this. You "old" folks are awfully naive for your age! ;)

Posted by: watermint | May 15, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

A series tied to current events and police procedure will unquestionably repeat itself, but because the show is not character-driven, it can survive. My objection to this article is that it seems rooted in the belief that NBC has anything better. When a network gives five hours of prime time to Jay Leno, I hardly think its decision-makers are entitled to my respect.

Posted by: greenm1 | May 16, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"a'gog"? "long-in-the-tooth"? "everyone was in a doodah"? I think Ms. de Moraes is anything but young, unless this is the way cleverer-than-thou media critics talk nowadays.

Posted by: CTullius | May 16, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the tactless comment that we'll be put out of our misery. Please speak for yourself! Law & Order had never been better in 20 years. I loved it. Everything was great – the cast, writing, and cases. It was intelligent and exciting enough without the excessive cleavage, gore and violence of other shows (like CBS's CSIs). Law & Order was far superior to the myriads of bottom-feeder reality shows we are now left with.

If the ratings were low, just think of how Law & Order had been bumped around in the past few years - different nights, timeslots, etc. NBC has made another big mistake! I am in "misery!" But only because the best show on TV has been cancelled!

Posted by: amigok9 | May 16, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't miss any of the spinoffs, but I will miss the original. SVU is Diet Coke; Criminal Intent is Coke Zero; LOLA reeks of "New Coke"; and NBC just cancelled the classic.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | May 16, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

When did presumptuousness, disdain and condescension become synonymous with wit? You don't like the program...we get it. But to bludgeon us over the head with your opinion presented as not only fact, but universally agree-upon fact, is a bit much.

Ms. de Morales, if you fancy yourself a sufficiently skilled writer to write for public consumption, you might want to try adding to your skill set such things as objectivity (yes, I know you are a columnist and not necessarily bound by the ethics of journalism, but objectivity is still a good thing) and not presuming to speak for the masses when you may well be no more than a single voice crying in the wilderness.

I liked the program and I will miss it.

Posted by: sweetviolet | May 17, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Lisa de Moreas, you have insulted a great number of people with your narrow minded attitude toward a show whose been on the air for 20 years, and had very successful spin offs. But why should I say anything when 20 years speaks louder than you ever could?

Posted by: skinfreak | May 17, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Nothing is forever. Now there will be a new show. Cream rises to the top, By the way I found a website that give you prizes for your opinions here is the topic about this Tv Show...

Posted by: elizabeth_3166 | May 18, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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