End of an era? John Wells’ ‘LAPD’ in trouble at NBC


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Fans of John Wells, the prolific producer behind ‘ER,’ ‘The West Wing,’ ‘Third Watch’ and other shows, may recall that last summer NBC picked up the pilot of his latest drama, ‘LAPD,’ as a possible midseason contender. The cast of the Los Angeles cop drama was set to include Tom Everett Scott as well as Ben McKenzie of ‘The O.C.’

But now it’s looking like viewers may not see ‘LAPD’ for a very long time, if ever.

Rumors are flying that Warner Bros. Television turned down NBC’s offer to pick up ‘LAPD’ as a series after the two sides failed to agree on financial terms. The timing is meaningful, as ‘ER’ will soon wrap up its 15-season run, and Wells has long been one of the network’s top producers. But NBC has been aggressively cutting program costs. When Jay Leno takes over the 10 p.m. slot next season, the network will have sharply reduced airtime for one-hour dramas. That NBC couldn’t make a deal for Wells’ latest high-profile project, if indeed it comes to that, might symbolize the end of an era.


‘The Wells thing is a mess, apparently a lot of finger-pointing,’ one top agent remarked.

However, a source inside NBC insisted the deal was not dead. ‘That’s not true,’ this source said. ‘We’re still evaluating.’ A spokeswoman for Warners would say only, ‘There is nothing to confirm.’

— Scott Collins