The Insider

Apr 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Dick Wolf was having none of The Insider’s attempt to figure out whether he’s got another one of those Law & Order cast changes up his sleeve.
“This is not about the future,” he said at a party celebrating the 300th installment in the series that in 1990 got off to a most inauspicious start. It was developed for and rejected by Fox, piloted by and rejected by CBS and finally ordered and scheduled for the 1990-91 season by NBC only because then-NBC programming chief Brandon Tartikoff said yes when everybody else said no. The series ranked 59th at the end of its debut season, but now is arguably the most successful prime-time drama in history.
The Insider doesn’t need to remind her readers about all that Law has begot over the past 13 seasons-11 straight Emmy nominations for best drama; an on-network/off-network audience that adds up to 96 million viewers each week; two healthy offspring-so she can skip right to dishing about the stuff that only she can or would tell you about a party packed with contingents from the press, network, Mr. Wolf’s show and production company and Universal Network Television.
Such as …
The most fun stage whisper of the night: NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker’s line that the cast is “the best ensemble in all of television. This isn’t being piped down to Criminal Intent is it?” Mr. Zucker (at right) was accompanied by wife Caryn, who is pregnant with their third child and looked downright ab fab in black.
The most fun use of “data points” in a party speech: NBC Chairman (and then-President) Bob Wright’s reminder that the 1990-91 freshman class included 34 other series that ranged from Hull High and Cop Rocks to The Flash and Babes. Mr. Wright was accompanied by wife Suzanne, who was in palomino-hued leather from top to toe.
How to earn a proclamation from (if not an appearance by) the mayor: Put about 1,800 people per year to work and contribute some $1 million a week to the local economy, not to mention some 60 personal appearances by the cast at this or that community event. Don’t worry that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is “still waiting for his 15-second guest spot” from the producers, who created a cameo bit for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a recurring role for the former mayor’s former wife, Donna Hanover.