NBC said Tuesday it has indefinitely delayed the return of "Law & Order: Los Angeles" and the reality series "The Marriage Ref," giving a sense of deja-vu to the high-powered creators of the rookie shows.
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The latest entry in producer Dick Wolf's billion-dollar "Law & Order" crime franchise is undergoing what a source called "some adjustments" in the wake of the recent axing of actor Skeet Ulrich and two others.
Wolf did the same thing during the first season of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 1999-2000, dropping several players, bringing in rapper Ice-T and sharpening the show's focus. Now in its 12th season, "SVU" is the highest-rated drama at the struggling network.
Eight episodes aired of "Law & Order: Los Angeles" between September and December. The show was set to return Feb. 8, taking over the Tuesday time slot currently occupied by "Parenthood." But NBC has decided to keep the sophomore family drama in its place rather than move it to Mondays.
"The Marriage Ref," from another NBC cash cow, Jerry Seinfeld, was intended to return for its second season March 6. But NBC said that Sunday slot will now go to the competition series "America's Next Great Restaurant," which had originally been scheduled to debut Wednesday, March 16.
A source said "Marriage Ref," in which warring couples air their dirty laundry in front of a celebrity panel, could be slotted anywhere in the schedule, while "America's Next Restaurant" is best served in consecutive helpings.
NBC was similarly reluctant to commit to Seinfeld's self-titled sitcom, allowing almost a year to pass before it aired the show's second episode in 1990 as part of a four-episode second season.
"Seinfeld" eventually became one of the biggest shows in TV history.