After Season 7 consistently won its time slot this year on ITV, the network has ordered an eighth season of Law & Order: UK. Shooting starts next month on the British version of the franchise for broadcast in 2014. Bradley Walsh, Georgia Taylor, Paterson Joseph and Dominic Rowan are returning with newcomer Ben Bailey Smith (Derek) joining the force. The new season will be produced by Jane Dauncey. Alison Jackson and Jane Featherstone will executive produce for Kudos Film and Television. The scripts are written by Nick Hicks Beach, Tom Grieves, Richard Stokes, Matt Evans, Jamie Crichton, Louise Ironside and Noel Farragher. Mat King, Joss Agnew and Jill Robertson will direct. Averaging 5.4M viewers, Season 7 maintained a 21.3% share. Previous seasons have aired in the U.S. on BBC America.
Justin Hartley has been tapped to play a major role in the upcoming third season of ABC’s Revenge. The former Smallville and Emily Owens MD star will play Patrick, the long-lost son of Victoria (Madeline Stowe), in a multi-episode arc that was a hot one to nab around town. E! first reported the news. His addition is the latest most on the ABC soapy drama, which recently opted not to return Ashley Madekwe’s character Ashley to the cast for next season. It also said goodbye to Connor Paolo, whose character Declan Porter died in the Season 2 finale. The ABC Studios series also will have a new showrunner in Sunil Nayar, after Revenge creator/executive producer/showrunner Mike Kelley departed. Hartley’s repped by Innovative Artists.
Raul Esparza is being bumped up to series regular on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He plays Assistant DA Rafael Barba on the Wolf Films/Univeral Television drama, which returns for its 15th season beginning September 25 and stars shooting next week in New York. Said executive producer Warren Leight: “Making him a series regular is a small way of acknowledging his enormous contribution to our show.” Esparza is repped by ICM Partners and Elin Flack Management.
After a couple of weeks of negotiations, Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal for the upcoming 15th season of Law & Oder: SVU. “Happy weekend. It’s official. Season 15–I’LL BE BACK!,” Hargitay tweeted yesterday. NBC renewed the veteran procedural without Hargitay being signed but she was fully expected to return. Next season Hargitay and her former SVU co-star Chris Meloni both will be in primetime, with Meloni toplining the new Fox comedy Surviving Jack. In 2006, Hargitay won an Emmy for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on the veteran NBC drama.
NBC has handed the expected early renewals to its stronger drama series: freshmen Revolution and Chicago Fire as well as Parenthood, Grimm and veteran Law & Order: SVU. All have received full-season, 22-episode pickups. Missing from the drama list is recent addition Hannibal, which has dropped in the ratings the past two weeks after a solid start, and fellow midseason drama Deception. I hear NBC has not closed the door completely on Deception though a renewal appears unlikely. “On the verge of our 2013 fall scheduling decisions, we’re pleased to renew five drama series that will be important to our new-season lineup,” NBC’s entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. “We’re especially pleased to be renewing Revolution and Chicago Fire — two first-season successes — and there will be more returning series announcements made in the next couple of weeks.” Those announcements will no doubt include reality hit The Voice and veteran comedy Parks And Recreation, which are assured a return for next season. All the other NBC comedies are heavily on the bubble. Things look a little better for The New Normal, which just won a GLAAD Award and comes from top producer Ryan Murphy, with Matthew Perry starrer Go On also in contention. Meanwhile, cult favorite Community‘s future is cloudy, with the future of multi-camera entries Whitney and Guys With Kids also in limbo. NBC might keep one of the multi-cam sitcoms for continuity as it is likely to order at least one, the Sean Hayes/Victor Fresco project, and expanding NBC’s multi-camera footprint appears to be a priority for the network’s brass.
The renewal for Law & Order: SVU comes before the producers have secured the return of star Mariska Hargitay. Today’s announcement gives producer Dick Wolf two series on the NBC schedule next season, L&O: SVU and Chicago Fire. They could be joined by the proposed Chicago Fire spinoff. The renewal brings more good news for Grimm, which recently received a temporary time slot upgrade and The Voice lead-in. Here are details about NBC’s newly renewed dramas: Read More »
NBC‘s Law & Order franchise warns onscreen that the story it’s about to tell “is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event”, but it’s known for plotlines that are taken straight from news headlines of the day. Wednesday’s Law & Order: SVU episode is titled “Legitimate Rape”, a reference to controversial remarks made last year by former Rep. Todd Akin. A promo for the episode begins “ripped from the headlines — words that set off a national controversy”. It features a man in a suit and tie with a flag lapel pin who appears as a court witness saying “It’s nearly impossible for a victim of legitimate rape to become pregnant”. Akin created a firestorm when he stated during his 2012 Senate race that women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. The comment followed with widespread calls for him to withdraw from the campaign. He apologized but remained in the race, eventually losing to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the general election. The upcoming Law & Order: SVU episode caught McCaskill’s attention, Politico reports, who tweeted in response: Now this is surreal. Law & Order: SVU recently tackled the subject of domestic abuse in another “ripped from the headlines” episode titled “Funny Valentine” that was based on the relationship of Chris Brown and Rihanna.
Related: … Read More »
Dick Wolf, creator of the Law & Order franchise, has weighed in on the controversial upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU, which guest stars former boxer Mike Tyson in his first acting gig playing someone other than himself. Tyson’s casting has come under attack from advocate groups protesting the involvement of a convicted rapist (Tyson served three years for a 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant) on a show dedicated to sex crime victims.
In the SVU episode, titled Monster’s Legacy, Tyson plays Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row whose violent actions may in part be the byproduct of sexual abuse as a child. His case attracts the attention of Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and defense attorney Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher) during an SVU investigation. Also guest starring in the episode is Ed Asner. “It focuses on what can happen when there is an emotionally charged rush to judgment and it is, in my opinion, one of our strongest episodes in the last five years,” Wolf said in a note accompanying screeners for Monster’s Legacy. Originally scheduled for Feb. 13, the episode has been moved up to Feb. 6, sparking speculation that the shift may have been made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors.
Ever since we broke the news of former boxer Mike Tyson‘s guest stint on NBC’s veteran crime drama Law & Order: SVU, the casting has become a lighting rod for controversy as it involves Tyson, who was convicted of rape 20 years ago, appearing on a show about getting justice for sex crime victims. NBC has now moved up the episode, originally scheduled for February 13, to February 6. According to the Washington Post, the move was made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors. It follows weeks of pressure from advocate groups who have protested the casting, including launching a petition asking NBC to recast the role. In a recent TV Guide interview, Tyson, who continues to profess his innocence in the 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant for which he served 3 years, defended his gig. “I’m just trying to feed my family,” he said. “I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes. I’m just trying to live my life.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In his TV acting debut, former boxer Mike Tyson is going for some dark, dramatic stuff with a guest starring role on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He will play Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row whose violent actions may in part be the byproduct of a horrible childhood. His case attracts the attention of Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and defense attorney Bayard Ellis (recurring guest star Andre Braugher) during an SVU investigation. Also guest starring in the episode is Ed Asner as someone connected to the investigation. Read More »
Rene Balcer, co-developer/executive producer of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which started off on NBC before migrating to the USA Network, is back at USA with a new project, a drama he is writing as well as executive producing with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. Described as “The X-Files meets The Matrix“, DarkNet is a mystery series about a couple of cyber-crime investigators who stumble across a far-reaching conspiracy to change the course of human evolution. “On one level, DarkNet‘s a cautionary tale about transhumanism inspired by something Ray Bradbury said,” Balcer said. “He thought the Internet was a massive scam perpetrated by computer companies. I thought, what if he was only half-right, and they had something far more sinister in mind.”
DarkNet, produced by Universal Cable Prods., centers on a woman with an MIT degree whose younger sister disappeared years ago, allegedly a victim of a cyber predator. As part of her quest to find the truth, the woman joins the FBI’s cyber crime unit where she is partnered with a former hacktivist who was recruited by the FBI after serving time in jail. USA has had success with two-lead series, most notably, White Collar and Suits.
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EXCLUSIVE: NBC has expanded the current 14th season of Law & Order: SVU to 24 episodes with the pickup of two extra hours. While the crime drama is showing its age, averaging a 1.7 18-49 rating in Live+same day this fall, SVU remains NBC’s best drama bet as a launching pad for new drama series and this fall helped launch Chicago Fire, which has received a full-season order. Airing with virtually no lead-in (NBC’s struggling Wednesday comedy block), SVU has improved its challenging Wednesday 9 PM slot by 55% in adults 18-49 year-to-year but the network aired the now-defunct Harry’s Law in the hour last fall. In Live+7, SVU, from Wolf Films and Universal TV, averages a 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers this season.
On the heels of its pickup of the off-network rights to Numbers, ION Television has acquired another long-running procedural, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. ION has bought all 10 seasons (195 episodes) of the Law & Order spinoff series, which started its run on NBC and ended it on USA Network. At ION, it joins Numbers, Flashpoint, Criminal Minds, Cold Case and Leverage and WWE Main Event.
I’ve learned that NBC has closed a deal to renew Dick Wolf‘s veteran procedural Law & Order: SVU for a 14th season. Additionally, the network has given a series order to the Wolf-produced firefighter drama pilot Chicago Fire. And I also hear the producer has signed a new deal with NBC to stay at his long-time home, where he also is producing a new military competition reality series with Mark Burnett.
Related: NBC Bets On Single-Camera Comedies And J.J. Abrams In Early Orders
Chicago Fire, from Universal Television and Wolf Films, stars House‘s Jesse Spencer and is described as a action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department. Derek Haas and Michael Brandt wrote the script and are executive producing with Wolf and his executives Danielle Gelber and Peter Jankowski. Eamonn Walker, Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund, David Eigenberg, Charlie Barnett, Lauren German, Teri Reeves and Merle Dandridge co-star.
Despite its ratings taking a hit this season following the departure of co-star Chris Meloni and with the series being stuck with an anemic lead-in, Law & Order: SVU (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 7.6 million total viewers in most current season averages) has remained one of NBC’s strongest series, ranking third behind The Voice-boosted Smash and Parenthood among adults 18-49. SVU star … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order and Law & Order: LA co-star Alana De La Garza is back at NBC with a lead role on the network’s medical drama pilot Do No Harm. Also cast in the pilot, written by David Schulner and directed by Michael Mayer, is British actress Ruta Gedmintas (The Borgias, Spooks). The Universal Studios-produced Do No Harm centers on Jeffrey Kohn, a brilliant neurosurgeon who wrestles with his dangerous alter-ego that threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and professional life. De La Garza, repped by SDB Partners, will play Dr. Lena Steck, a confident neurosurgeon who has chemistry with Kohl. Gedmintas will play Olivia Case, Kohn’s former fiance.
The WGA East like other unions and guilds has been a supporter of the Occupy protests that have cropped up around the nation, especially in New York City. But Occupy Wall Street’s recent siege of a Manhattan set for NBC and Wolf Films’ Law & Order: SVU — a show written and produced by WGA East members and featuring a crew from other industry unions — has got the guild peeved. The set was part of an episode that centered on a crime committed at the Occupy camp site at New York’s Zuccotti Park, and protesters made their opposition to it known by “occupying” the location at midnight before the NYPD cleared them out. The city pulled the show’s filming permit and the shoot never happened. Here’s WGA East’s open letter to protesters and the police, whom it takes to task for making them strike the set.
To Occupy Wall Street and the New York Police Department:
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has strongly and actively supported the Occupy Wall Street movement from its inception. Our union members and staff have participated in many OWS actions, and we have endorsed OWS’ important message that corporate greed and economic inequality are wrong.
So we were disappointed to learn that last week people associated with Occupy Wall Street disrupted the set of an episode of Law
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