Dick Wolf has been an integral part of the NBCUniversal brand for three decades — both on the network and studios side, with his formidable Law & Order and Chicago franchises airing on NBC and being produced by Universal Television, now part of NBCUniversal Content Studios. Because of that legacy, when NBCUniversal announced plans for a streaming platform, having Dick Wolf’s dramas on it was considered essential.
It came down to the wire, but that platform, Peacock, has closed a mega deal for the majority of Wolf’s deep catalogue, including Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med, which all will be part of the acquired content on the streamer at launch. The announcement will be made at Comcast’s investor presentation today unveiling the service.
No further details were provided, but I have leaned that the deal, believed to be well into the nine-figure range, gives Peacock non-excusive rights to the full library of Law and Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, as well as episodes of Law and Order and Law and Order: CI. (Law & Order: SVU is currently streaming on Hulu, while this will mark the first time mothership Law & Order is available on a streaming platform.)
“I’m extremely pleased, gratified and excited by Peacock’s decision to lease my key NBC assets,” said Wolf, who is in New York for the Peacock presentation. “As we all move into the new era of television, it is reassuring to know that it will be one-stop shopping for our fans on the new platform.”
NBCU’s TV distribution unit took the Dick Wolf library to the streaming market several months ago. There has been interest from a number of places as Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU in particular, continue to be among the top off-network drama performers on basic cable.
Because of the sheer volume of the library — in its entirety it includes more than 1,500 hourlong episodes — I hear NBCU did not have a price tag for the entire lineup when it pitched it to prospective buyers. The expectation was that platforms would be able to get access to a revolving roster of episodes from the library, which makes the size of the property more manageable.
That scenario would still be possible as the deal with Peacock is not exclusive.
Law & Order: SVU, now in its historic 21st season, and the Chicago series are among NBC’s top-rated and most watched drama series in both linear and digital viewing.
The library deal with Peacock was brokered by Wolf’s longtime attorney Cliff Gilbert Lurie.
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