Dick Wolf Owns 9 Prime-Time Hours With Brand-Extended Shows

By next week, nine hours of network prime time -- out of 81 total hours -- will be taken up by three brand-extended drama shows.

All nine of them come from the TV production factory of Dick Wolf, 77 -- three “Chicago” shows, three “Law & Order” shows and three “FBI” shows.

The nine hours are on three consecutive nights taking up all three hours of prime time, smack in the middle of the prime-time week -- three hours on Tuesday nights on CBS, and Wednesday and Thursday nights on NBC.

On Tuesdays, it’s “FBI,” “FBI: International” and “FBI: Most Wanted” CBS.

On Wednesdays: “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” on NBC.

And on Thursdays: “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” on NBC.



The three “FBI” shows return en masse next Tuesday (February 13), two days after the Super Bowl on CBS.

All the CBS prime-time shows -- dramas and comedies -- whose premieres were delayed from last fall due to the strikes are coming up for their season premieres after the big game, presumably so CBS can promote them during the game.

In fact, as reported in a recent "TV Blog," the delayed, scripted shows on ABC and CBS are almost all premiering this month and next, while the six Dick Wolf shows on NBC came back last month -- the “Chicago” shows on January 17, and the “Law & Order” shows the following evening.

The Dick Wolf shows came back sooner because the well-oiled Wolf production machine was able to re-commence production with hyper-speed after the strikes were settled, according to a Dick Wolf profile in Forbes last month.

The thing that is a source of wonder about all of the Dick Wolf shows is the long life they enjoy in off-network syndication on basic cable, where they take up countless hours.

The “Law & Order” shows in particular are easy to watch, even if you come upon them in the middle of an episode. They are formulaic and familiar.

Moreover, there are so many episodes encompassing the original “L&O” and all its spinoffs that it is impossible to have seen them all, which means casual viewers of the repeats will rarely come across one they have seen already.

The “Law & Order” and “Chicago” shows are produced by Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television -- which, like NBC, is owned by NBCU.

The “FBI” shows on CBS are produced by Wolf Entertainment, CBS Studios and Universal. All the partners in these shows profit from all the cable syndication.

In this way, Dick Wolf always makes money for his partners.

1 comment about "Dick Wolf Owns 9 Prime-Time Hours With Brand-Extended Shows".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 9, 2024 at 9:40 a.m.

    Adam, this situation is one of the prime reasons for the loss of viewers---especially younger viewers---- that is hurting the broadcast TV networks. By dealing with the same relatively small group of  favored but old school program suppliers the networks have developed lucrative syndication sales partnerships which are one of the reasons that these shows keep getting renewed season after season---that generates more episodes to sell in syndication.It's also why the shows keep morphing into clones of themselves with  casting and location changes. More episeodes to sell in syndication.

    Small wonder that the median age of broadcast network prime time viewers has risen to all time highs---many of the networks' shows are virtual lookalikes---and because the same people are producing most of these programs they all have the same look---let's face it---an older look---like TV was 30+ years ago.

    I'm not blaming Dick Wolf or any of the other producers for this. It's the fault of broadcast TV network management and it has cost them dearly. Will it change? Will the networks --at last---search out new forms of content and gamble with new producer parthners? To be fair, that's a very risky proposition and it's probbaly too late to attempt it. Ten years ago, maybe---but now---I doubt it.

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