Will 'Law & Order' lose its appeal?
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY
For years, Law & Order — on the air since 1990 — has been chasing the record held by CBS' Gunsmoke, which ran for 20 years to become TV's longest-lasting drama.
But NBC might deny it that chance. For the first time, the crime show's future is uncertain. It hangs between renewal and cancellation — "on the bubble," in industry jargon — because of sagging ratings. The show is averaging 9.2 million viewers this season, less than half the audience it had five years ago as a top-10 show.
Blame normal declines among aging series, a glut of procedural crime dramas and the show's banishment to Fridays this season from its longtime Wednesday home. Whatever the cause, it has earned Law and its never-quite-a-hit spinoff, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, spots on the list of 22 shows fighting for survival.
The major networks will announce their fall lineups in mid-May, and with them, a death sentence or reprieve for these shows. USA TODAY's 10th annual Save Our Shows survey asks viewers to weigh in on which deserve another season and which should be put out to pasture...
Where does your show stand?
Check our list to see the renewal status of your favorite programs, then vote for the ones that need help.
Also, next week's "Jet" magazine has a brief one-page story on Tamara Tunie, who is one of the producers of the Broadway run of playwright August Wilson's final work, "Radio Golf," along with the play's stars Tonya Pinkins and Harry Lennix (with very much being made of his long-noticed resemblance to Senator Barack Obama in the promotional poster--or it just seems like it!--as the character in the play is running for a political office). The issue features actress Victoria Rowell on the cover with her son Jasper. Rowell has just released the book, The Women Who Raised Me, about her childhood spent in foster care (and it's not mentioned in the article, but Jasper is shaping up to be a dead ringer for his father, naturally).