NBC Universal has decided to renew all three legs of the “Law & Order” franchise — but in a surprise move, the company will move new episodes of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” to its USA cable channel, while airing reruns of the show on NBC.
“Criminal Intent,” starring Vincent D’Onofrio as the eccentric but brilliant Det. Robert Goren and Kathryn Erbe as his partner, Det. Alexandra Eames, returns for its seventh season. For several years, reruns of episodes first seen on NBC have been shown on USA, the top-rated basic cable network. In a statement, NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said the switch, announced late Sunday, strengthens USA and gives NBC “maximum flexibility.”
Meanwhile, the original “Law & Order” rolls on to its 18th season, bringing it a year closer to eclipsing the record for the longest-running drama series in television history. CBS’s “Gunsmoke” holds the current record, as it ran on that network from 1955 to 1975.