Law & Order is one step closer to breaking Gunsmoke's long-standing record.
NBC Entertainment chief Angela Bromstad recently told BusinessWeek that the network plans to order a 21st season of the legal drama, making it the longest-running prime-time drama in TV history.
"I'm a Law & Order junkie," Bromstad said. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for not having Law & Order break the record."
While Bromstad plans to honor the old, she's also keenly focused on the new. Bromstad said NBC will produce 18 pilots this spring, the most since 2003 and a marked increase over last year's 11.
"We have so many holes that we have to essentially rebuild the schedule," Bromstad said, noting that the increase in production is a reaction to the network's poor prime-time performance.
"In success we became used to making fewer and fewer pilots," Bromstad said. "We have to take more swings, take more shots creatively, and have more back-up."
The network will develop 10 dramas and eight half-hour comedies, according to the magazine. Among those projects is Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, starring Doctor Who's David Tennant and Jeffrey Tambor, a Rockford Files remake, and Undercovers, a spy thriller from Lost and Fringe creator J.J. Abrams.
Despite the extra development, Bromstad says production costs won't rise. It is unclear, however, how this aggressive development will play into NBC's scheduling, which devotes five prime-time hours to The Jay Leno Show. No announcement has been made about the talk show's future beyond this season, but Bromstad suggests moving Leno to 10/9c has helped.
"Not having the additional five hours has certainly relieved some of the pressure," Bromstad said of building a new schedule.
What do you think of NBC's development plans for the 2010-2011 season? Are you glad to hear about Law & Order?