NBC announce Friday, May 14, that they are canceling Law & Order after two decades on the air.
The last episode will be May 24, which will tie it with Gunsmoke as prime-time’s longest-running drama series.
“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,” Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment said in a statement.
“The legacy of his original Law & Order series will continue to make an impact like no other series before.”
“Law & Order has been one of the most successful franchises in the history of television, which is why it is so critical that we continue this important brand and our relationship with Dick Wolf and his team with Law & Order: Los Angeles and Law & Order: SVU,” NBC Entertainment President Angela Bromstad said in a statement.
“Law & Order has set the standard for superior production management and seamless location shooting in the City,” Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting said in a statement. “It has also served to showcase the vast array of locations found throughout the five boroughs.”
Oliver said the series employs about 4,000 individuals, contributing nearly $80 million to the city’s economy each season.
Beginning with the second season, Law and Order earned 11 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for best drama series. It won the award only once, in 1997. Elaine Stritch won the guest actress Emmy in 1993 and the series has won four technical awards – sound editing (1992) and cinematography (1993, 1997, 1998).
“What Law & Order has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous,” TV historian Tim Brooks said. “It’s one thing to reach this kind of record in the 1950s and 1960s, when there were more concentration of networks and less competition. But to last this long in prime time during this era is simply remarkable.”
The final episode will air May 24, 2010 on NBC at 10 p.m. EST.