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May 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

NBC confirmed today (Friday) that it is canceling Law & Order, its longest-running primetime series ever. The series finale, due to air on May 24, will mark the end of the line for the New York-based show that spawned imitators and spinoffs, including next season’s planned Law & Order: Los Angeles. NBC’s decision to cancel, which came as a surprise, will no doubt generate renewed controversy over its programming decisions. While ratings for the series have taken a dive in recent years, many would attribute the deterioration to lead-in programs that fared even more poorly in the ratings. Since replacing Jay Leno in the 10:00 p.m. hour, it has had to follow the low-rated Chuck at 8:00 p.m., the dead-on-arrival Trauma at 9:00 p.m., and, when that show was yanked, reruns of itself. Series director Dick Wolf who said last September that he expected the series to continue running through at least 2013, released a cryptic four-word statement in reaction to the NBC cancellation: “Never complain. Never explain.”