NBC is stopping production on new legal drama Outlaw while keeping the show on the air. Starting tomorrow, the freshman series will go on production hiatus while the network monitors closely its ratings performance. Eight episodes of Outlaw have been produced; 3 of them have already aired, with 5 more in the can. If there is a ratings uptick in the next 2 weeks, production on the show will be restarted. If not, it will become permanent.

The drama pilot starring Jimmy Smits as a Supreme Court justice with a gambling problem who leaves the bench to become a private attorney was a dark horse during the development process and surprised some when it landed a series order in May. It hails from Conan O’Brien’s once NBC-based production company Conaco. NBC gave Outlaw a solid sampling after America’s Got Talent but the series never took hold in its permanent Friday 10 PM time period where it was crushed by CBS’ Blue Bloods, drawing a 1.1 demo ratings and 5 million viewers during premiere week and a 1.0 rating, 4.5 million last Friday. While several new NBC series have performed lower than expected, the network is yet to pull any series off the air though it had been mulling potential scheduling moves.