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September 4, 2015

Law & Order matches Gunsmoke's longevity record, sort of

by Jason Hughes, posted May 19th 2009 6:08PM
Law & OrderI figured they would do this, for nostalgia's sake if nothing else. It seems pretty likely that Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is going to outlast the parent that spawned it (because let's face it, sex sells!). Still, it was nice of NBC to renew Law & Order for a 20th season, allowing Dick Wolf to match Gunsmoke at twenty seasons.

Of course, now he's going to be angling to surpass the series next year. Even more ambitious would be a push to outdo Gunsmoke in episodes. With word coming down that L&O got a 16 episode commitment, it's just falling further and further behind.

At 635 total episodes, Gunsmoke was averaging 31-32 episodes per year. With L&O at 433 by this season's end, and giving them a generous average of 22 episodes per season we're still looking at another nine years to match Little Joe and the family! Which means that no one is ever going to beat that episode number, except maybe for The Simpsons in another decade or so.

Still, 20 years is a lofty goal and L&O should be proud to achieve that. Now if they could just figure out how to achieve bigger ratings again. Maybe they should transform the show into one of its own spin-offs. How about Special Victims Unit II. That'll guarantee it sticks around another ten years or so, right?

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Tim Wilkins

Gunsmoke was a classic. L&O a classic? I don't know about that. lol Still 20 years is something in today tv environment. Back when Gunsmoke was on, shows ran longer without repeats and I think in addition to years, one should also consider ep count. I beleive Simpsons has lasted 20 years and they'll never have the ep count. Not in today's tv environment.

May 20 2009 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gunsmoke was still in the top 20 when it went off the air. James Arness and Milburn Stone were still starring in it after 20 years. L&O is a joke no one watches it and they only renewed it so they could tie Gunsmoke.

May 20 2009 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Nelson

Who the heck is Little John? If you meant Little Joe, that was Bonanza.

Try to at least sound like you've watched the shows you namedrop.

May 19 2009 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Doug Nelson's comment
Jason Hughes

It's been years since I've seen any episodes of it. Sorry about the name snafu.

May 20 2009 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Gunsmoke was a heckuva show. 635 epeisodes. All I can say is wow.
And James Arness played Matt Dillion throughout the whole 20 year period. Amazing.

May 19 2009 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I regularly watch old episodes of Law & Order and the comparison is heartbreaking.

I'm afraid the new episodes are littered with ridiculously brain-dead dialog.

Whether it's the detectives lecturing each other on arrest procedures or the Lawyers "surprising" each other with obvious ploys during the endgame.

Honestly, it's stomach-turning.

A recent example was when the super-mean-DA dude prosecuted the Mom of a suspect just so the daughter would confess. His assistant never saw it coming. Everyone else on earth did, just not his legal partner in prosecutorial law.

May 19 2009 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not sure why L&O doesn't bring in the ratings anymore. In my opinion the current cast is the best since season 5. And yet audiences go for the flagrant sexualization of violence that CSI provides instead... sad.

May 19 2009 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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