Disappointing Ratings for ‘Law & Order: LA’ Reboot

by | April 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM | Law & Order: LA, TV News

Alana De La Garza and Terrence Howard of 'Law & Order: LA' (Photo: NBC)

Alana De La Garza and Terrence Howard of 'Law & Order: LA' (Photo: NBC)

NBC’s efforts to reconfigure and relaunch “Law & Order: LA” didn’t help lift the show’s ratings in its return to the network’s lineup Monday night.

Two back-to-back new episodes of “L&O: LA” – minus original cast member Skeet Ulrich, who was dropped from the show – averaged about the same number of viewers as “The Event,” followed by “Harry’s Law,” a week earlier.

This past Monday, the two “L&Os” drew 5.538 million and 6.376 million viewers, respectively, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (8-10c). A week ago, “The Event” came in at 4.14 million at 9 o’clock, with “Harry’s Law,” starring Kathy Bates, attracting 6.376 million viewers at 10 (both shows dipped a bit that evening, most likely because they were up against the NCAA Men’s Basketball final on CBS).

Watch Monday’s Episode of “Law and Order: Los Angeles” on xfinityTV.com:

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For the record, ABC led all the other networks Monday night by a wide margin, thanks mainly to the two-hour “Dancing with the Stars,” which averaged 20.45 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (7-9c).

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As for “LOLA” (as some have labeled “L&O: LA”), the series hadn’t had a new episode since December. NBC had hoped the relaunch would do somewhat better than it did, particularly in the 18-49 demo the network craves. Instead, “LOLA” came in fourth place in the demo among the big four broadcast networks Monday night.

Could it be that all the “Law & Orders” are too closely associated with New York to work in any other city? It’s possible, although expanding into other locales – in the manner of the “CSIs” on CBS, for example – would seem to be a workable idea, or at least one worth trying because, if it works, it could breathe years of new life into the aging “Law & Order” franchise.

On the other hand, the “Law & Order” formula is more than 20 years old. Maybe producer Dick Wolf and his team should have tried it out in other cities years ago, like “CSI,” which expanded to Miami and New York after just a handful of seasons. It’s just possible that it’s too late to save “L&O” by moving it somewhere else.

Our take is this: The problem might be Los Angeles, which is home base already for a dozen or more shows about cops and courts, so who needs to see another one? Here’s some news for TV’s LA- and New York-centric producers: Other states and cities have criminal justice systems too.

There are hundreds of cities in America where TV shows are never based although such cities represent a vast number of people who watch television. “Law & Order: Indianapolis,” anyone? Hey, why not?

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