NBC Renewal Status Report: One Chicago, ‘Law & Order’ Franchise, ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’, ‘American Auto’ & More

Second in a series on broadcast network series renewals. Reboots have been hot on NBC this season, with the two freshman follow-ups to classic TV series, drama Quantum Leap and comedy Night Court, both already picked up for a second season.

For the first time in years, NBC faces renewals of its four top-rated dramas: Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise and Law & Order: SVU, whose three-season pickups all are coming to an end. I hear negotiations already are underway, and the goal again is to secure multi-season renewals for all four shows.

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That is considered attainable as the biggest obstacle for long-running hit shows usually is cost, and Wolf is known for keeping his productions on tight budgets.

That sometimes is reflected into how long actors stay on his procedurals, with cast turnovers used as both a way to keep shows fresh creatively and keep costs in check.

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Of course, there are a handful of actors who are indispensable, with Law & Order: SVU star and executive producer Mariska Hargitay topping the list. She needs a new deal to continue on the series she has led for the past 24 seasons; I hear no one anticipates any issues with that.

As for the “newer” Law & Order kids on the block, the revival of the mothership Law & Order series, which is in its second season and the series’ 22nd overall, as well as Law & Order: Organized Crime, now in Season 3, I hear one-season renewals are more likely.

The duo is right behind “The Big 4” (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and SVU) ratings-wise, with Law & Order pulling in more live viewers and Organized Crime getting a bigger delayed-viewing lift.

Still, the two shows might need longer track records before being considered for multi-year renewals, and Organized Crime — which is breaking ground with serialized storytelling not usually associated with the Dick Wolf brand — also needs to stabilize its behind-the-scenes. The show has been a revolving door for showrunners, with four changes in the past year alone.

Likely also factoring into NBC’s renewal decisions on the Dick Wolf dramas is the prospect for the network to drop the 10 PM hour, which is key to maintaining the uber producer’s three-hour blocks. NBC will continue to program the time slot next season but could potentially change as soon as the 2024-25 season is considered a real possibility.

As Deadline reported, sci-fi drama La Brea was renewed for a third season with a six-episode order in a move influenced by the prospect of a writers and/or directors and actors strike. With the cast released to pursue other jobs, that likely would be the show’s final chapter. As we reported, there is a small chance that La Brea could continue beyond that with new characters and a new cast. In a follow-up interview with TV Line, the series’ showrunners indicated that there is a possibility for NBC to tack on additional episodes to the initial six-episode order, so they are not quite ready to wrap things up yet.

RELATED: 2023 NBC Pilots & Series Orders

NBC’s successful track record launching reboots this year could bode well for Magnum P.I., which the network rescued after the series’ cancellation by CBS. NBC’s “sexier” version premiered in midseason, and its early performance on Sundays has been encouraging, though no decision needs to be made on the drama starring Jay Hernandez for a while. As we reported, Magnum P.I. was picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, with the second 10-episode run earmarked for next fall.

NBC’s pilots likely won’t interfere significantly with current dramas’ renewal chances since the network only ordered two hourlong pilots this year, Untitled Jenna Bans/Bill Krebs and Wolf (plus one comedy, St. Denis Medical), and the network already is sunsetting two drama series this season in The Blacklist and New Amsterdam, which will open up shelf space. There is a mitigating factor as the network also ordered writers rooms for The Hunting Party and Grosse Pointe Garden Society, which could lead to a straight-to-series order.

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NBC has four comedies in renewal contention: freshman Lopez vs. Lopez, sophomores American Auto and Grand Crew and third-year Young Rock. All are considered on the bubble.

Of the four, Lopez vs. Lopez is multi-camera, the same format as recently renewed Night Court, which will need a companion next season. After a solid start, the father-daughter sitcom earned a full-season renewal and has been a respectable ratings performer, especially given the fact that it is airing without a lead-in on the lower-trafficked Friday, opening the night for NBC.

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It’s too early to tell about American Auto and Grand Crew, which both only recently having launched their second seasons. Neither has been a standout performer, but both are liked creatively by the network, whose executives acknowledge that comedies take longer to find an audience. It is unclear whether either of the two would make it to a third season, but NBC has a chance of launching a single-camera Justin Spitzer workplace block if American Auto is renewed and the Superstore creator’s pilot St. Denis Medical is picked up to series.

We don’t hear much about Young Rock, which largely has been forgotten, having only produced 13 episodes in its third season that finished its run months ago. Still, Dwayne Johnson’s involvement remains in a factor, along with the show’s solid delayed-viewing lifts.

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