Back in April, I took part in a day-long conference at UC Santa Barbara's Carsey-Wolf Center. The topic? The 20-year impact of "Law & Order." ("Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf is the namesake, along with Marcy Carsey, of the Carsey-Wolf Center, natch. So expect a future conference on Carsey-Werner.)
My topic: How "Law & Order" morphed from TV show into a full-fledged brand. (I wrote a story on this topic back in 2001, which is partly why I was asked to join in.)
This was a rare case of actually being on a panel instead of moderating it -- and wow, that's a whole lot easier. I was joined by Cliff Gilbert-Lurie, Senior Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP; Warren Littlefield, Founder, The Littlefield Company and former President, NBC Entertainment; Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, Program Director and Associate Professor of Film Studies, DePauw University; Betsy Scolnik, Head of Digital Strategies, Wolf Films; and Ellen Seiter, Professor of Television Studies, School for Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California.
Here's how the panel was pitched:
"Law & Order" is one of the most financially successful series in the history of television. Conceived originally as a modular hour-long drama that could be syndicated in half-hour blocs, it was from the outset a program designed to navigate the shifting sands of the TV business during cable and broadband eras. Panelists explored the distinctive features of "Law & Order" as a network franchise and off-network syndication property. Topics included: production strategies, cost containment, marketing, cross-platform synergies, brand management, target audiences, and intellectual property. Panelists also discussed "Law & Order" within the broader context of network and cable television.And here's the video from the day: