Here's an article about the Law and Order series on NBC and what may be happening to the franchise. Rumor is that the "mothership" on Fridays, as well as the spinoff Law and Order: Criminal Intent, are on the bubble and that one of them could get the axe.
The problem for the original series is cost. Apparently it costs a fortune to shoot in New York and the salaries of the actors are through the roof. And its audience is getting older and older. The ratings this season have been terrible, dipping as low as 60th place on Fridays. But producer Dick Wolf doesn't want to see this show cancelled. It's his big dream to see the original Law and Order show go 21 seasons and beat Gunsmoke's record. But Gunsmoke got saved because it was shifted to a new night and rebounded. Here, Law and Order has shifted to Fridays and it is sinking. Criminal Intent is doing a little better, but that brand is the weakest of the three series.
The one thing going for these series is that the audience is upscale. Still, ratings are down.
What do I think? I think we could see Law and Order: Criminal Intent getting the boot and cast members of that series migrating to the original Law and Order show, so that Dick Wolf's dream of beating Gunsmoke can still happen. And I see the original shifting nights again, and also some more cast changes. We have rumors of Fred Thompson running for President. And maybe Sam Waterston could end up leaving- his salary is likely through the roof.