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Comcast's NBC Eyes Expansion Of Dick Wolf's 'Chicago' Franchise With 'Chicago Law'


In 2012 when NBC and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA)'s "Chicago Fire" premiered, it was completely overshadowed by ABC and Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)'s country music drama "Nashville" and The CW's return to the super-hero realm with "Arrow." In 2016 it's quickly becoming the crown jewel of the NBC family.

It's not that the Dick Wolf produced series puts up blazing hot numbers, but it puts up solid numbers, has a loyal following and is populated by engaging likeable characters. In a cord-cutting, trigger-happy TV world that counts for something. NBC wisely recognized the appeal of the brand by spinning it off in 2014 with the debut of "Chicago PD."

Last year, executives doubled-down and did it again spawning "Chicago Med," which has seen success in its early episodes. On Thursday, NBC officially confirmed, the Windy City may take up more real estate on the network's schedule in 2016.

After Wolf teased the possibility of a "Chicago Law" spin-off to reporters during last week's Television Critics Association winter conference, NBC's president of entertainment, Jennifer Salke has made it a reality.

In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Salke said: "Dick Wolf has been responsible for some of the biggest hits in NBC history, including SVU and the current three Chicago dramas, Fire, P.D., and Med. The Chicago universe will continue to grow as we are in active development on Chicago Law (working title)."

Wolf is no stranger to seeing his series spin-off repeatedly as he's also the mastermind behind the "Law & Order" franchise. What investors to need watch for though is to make sure the "Chicago" franchise doesn't over-expose itself as it embarks on its latest adventure.

While "Law" is just being ordered to pilot for now, there is relatively little chance it won't be picked up come the up fronts in May. Even though NBC's success over the past three years is largely credited to the three-headed dragon that is "Sunday Night Football," "The Blacklist" and "The Voice," the impact of the "Chicago" series cannot be overlooked.

These series have quickly become a stabilizing force for the network and both analysts and investors in NBC's parent company Comcast have surely noticed. Pending "Law" being picked up, this would give Wolf five shows on the air, a career first that puts him in extremely rare air.

It's hard to doubt that type of success, but it can make one wonder if there may be a breaking point.

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