Dick Wolf is most well known for creating the “Law & Order” franchise of TV dramas on NBC. The flagship series, “Law & Order,” began in 1990 and when it opens its 21st season in fall 2010, it will become the longest-running drama in TV history. (It’s currently tied with “Gunsmoke” at 20 seasons.)
The former advertising copywriter created an hour-long series designed to be split in half for reruns so he could double its revenue when it went into syndication. The format follows a single case through the arrest phase in the first half hour and the prosecution phase in the second.
The success of the series has led to multiple spinoffs: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (11 seasons, still airing), “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (8 seasons, still airing), “Law & Order: Trial By Jury” (canceled during its first season), “Law & Order: Crime & Punishment” (a reality series that aired 26 episodes), “Law & Order: UK” (two seasons, still airing) and the just-announced “Law & Order: Los Angeles.”