Law & Order, a tale of TV’s greed

the old Law & OrderI’m sad to learn of the passing of Law & Order, although I think the show really collapsed when Lenny Brisco moved on. Today’s version is a ghost of its former self, and I suppose it’s best to let it go. I thank Dick Wolf for all those years of entertainment.

20 years. The show last 20 years, and at a time when television was evolving from something worthwhile to the relentless crap that we have today. How did that happen? Greed, and we can use Law & Order’s long lifespan to observe that closely.

In 1990, when the show was launched, the average program length was 47 minutes with 13 minutes for commercials and marketing. A couple of years ago, the average program length had dropped to 43 minutes, with 17 minutes of commercials and marketing. Is there a correlation to the crap of today and the length of the programs? Absolutely, and while researchers for the industry try to sell us on the idea that people sit there and actually watch those 17 minutes of commercials, our own behavior tells us that’s ridiculous.

I miss Law & Order, but I miss even more the two-minute commercial break.


  1. I don’t like the extra commercials either, but I’m not sure the contention that TV shows were better in 1990 than they are today stands up to close scrutiny. Or, call it subjective.

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