BEVERLY HILLS, CA–Hell hath no fury like a Dick Wolf scorned. The veteran executive producer really wanted to see Law & Order break Gunsmoke‘s longevity record and get picked up for a 21st season. It didn’t, Wolf barked, but had calmed down considerably by the time he met with critics Friday to promote his consolation prize: Law & Order: Los Angeles. Sharing the stage with Montreal-born showrunner Rene Balcer (left), Wolf made the following statement at the start of Friday’s NBC press tour session:

“Obviously Rene and I and the hundreds of people that have been associated with Law & Order over the past 20 years in New York were extremely disappointed that the show didn’t come back for a 21st season. That’s business. That’s life. Everything on television is born under a death sentence. They just don’t tell you the date of execution. We had one of the greatest runs in the history of the business with the mothership. And again, I want to thank all the people that were part of that. But we are here today to talk about the future, and basically the past is the past.”

Wolf was happy to announce that he had landed Terrence Howard to join Alfred Molina as the twin District Attorneys at the Law end of this series. “I now feel like the manager of the ’61 Yankees because we’ve got our Mantle and Maris,” he says. Molina and Howard will take turns week-to-week being this show’s Sam Waterston. Skeet Ulrich and Salt‘s Corey Stoll work the cop half of the beat.
The series, which will premiere Sept. 22 with back-to-back episodes, will also feature Joan Cusack and Maria Bello among the guest stars.
Wolf tossed off plenty of twitterable quotes during the session. On L&O‘s ripped from the headlines formula, he said “we steal the headlines, not the body copy.” Challenged on reports that a L&O 21st season deal went south because Wolf wouldn’t budge on budget, the executive producer huffed that “Everything in life is a negotiation.” He then declared that, “in the 25 years that I’ve been continuously on the air at NBC, we have never failed to make a deal when there was a deal to be made.” Translation: none of your gawd damn business.
Wolf was also consulted on a style point: how do you spell the two chord sound so associated will all versions of the series?
Wolf refused to provide the definitive answer. “No, because I say ‘ching ching’ and people go ‘dum-dum’ or ‘dong-dong.’ Ask [theme composer] Mike Post.”
Besides, there’s only one sound that really matters to Wolf: “Ka-ching.”

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