Dick Wolf feels that his "Law & Order" shows are in that camp and doesn't know why. He is angry that critics placed more attention on "Alias" than "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," especially when "Criminal Intent" pulls in more money in syndication, after-market license fees, and advertising dollars than "Alias."
Wolf blames critics for not being more like business writers- talking up the fact that the "L&O" franchise pulls in some $1 billion.
There, we've said it. One billion dollars.
It could be that "L&O" isn't the more glamorous franchise on the block - not when actors are exchanged regularly like simple moving parts, and not when those actors aren't allowed to shine.
In TV, when writers talk about franchise, they talk about Wolf. While that is a good thing business-wise, some feel that the performance of its shows has a lot to do with the overall marketing of the shows' same "brand" names.
Remember Dick Wolf is the first TV producer to talk about TV shows as brands. This isn't surprising. In a very consumer products way that's his background. In his former life, Wolf worked at ad agencies, working on accounts like Procter & Gamble.
It was Dick Wolf years ago who told then NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield how to handle his little "Friends" problem. That was when all the "Friends" cast wanted big raises.
Wolf told Littlefield to fire them - one by one. That's because each of those friends stars became a brand unto themselves, rising above the name of the show.
But Wolf has never let his actors on "Law & Order" get to that level. Actors routinely come and go. The show "Law & Order" is the brand; actors just participate in that success.
If Wolf wants to know why critics don't give his shows more serious attention, it could be because he runs his shows - somewhat boringly - like a consumer products business.