Correction to This Article
The TV Column?uppercase "C" in the May 14 Style section incorrectly said that Katee Sackhoff would play the lead role in NBC's new version of "The Bionic Woman." Sackhoff is a cast member, but the lead will be played by Michelle Ryan will play the lead.

NBC, Always Thinking of Us. But Do We Ever Call?

Sam Waterston and
Sam Waterston and "Law & Order" are coming back for an 18th season. (By Virginia Sherwood -- Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers of the Reporters Who Cover Television were abandoned in the middle of Mother's Day brunches yesterday when NBC hastily called a news conference to make a big announcement:

"Law & Order" is coming back to NBC!

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is moving to USA for its seventh season!

NBC will air reruns of those "CI" episodes after they've aired on USA!

"Law & Order: SVU" is coming back to NBC! We already knew that!

Yes, for this the reporters risked getting cut out of their parents' wills today. And yes, the people who run the television industry are godless people who do not love mothers.

Dick Wolf, the guy who's been perpetrating the "Law & Order" franchise on us for 17 years, started off the conference phone call with an apology, saying "I know it's Mother's Day and not a convenient time of day for these conference calls" and adding that he appreciated reporters' attention and indulgence.

But when he could have shown reporters just how sorry he was and how bad he felt for their mothers by answering questions like "What's the plan with probable presidential candidate/'L&O' thespian Fred Thompson for this coming season now that 'Law & Order' is coming back?" or "Did you personally take a big pay cut to make this deal work for NBC financially?" (you didn't really think that $4 million per episode that "Law & Order" reportedly costs all shows up on the TV screen, did you?) he went into "No comment, no comment, no comment!" mode. And yes, that is his actual quote.

Like I said -- no regard for mothers.

He did, however, want us to know that they are scheduled to celebrate their 400th episode of "Law & Order" next season: "We are now one year closer to my ultimate dream -- to become the longest running drama in the history of television, beating 'Gunsmoke.' " (That's from yesterday's announcement.)

He did insist that although belts were tightened, the viewer would not be able to detect anything on screen, lending credence to the Wolf-took-a-pay-cut notion, though it was intended to convey the sense that Wolf would not now begin wholesale whacking on "CI" and the mothership.

On the other hand, NBC Universal did agree to extend its relationship with Wolf to the year 2012. Wolf's production company is set up at NBC Universal.

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