Why are the Dick Wolf shows getting reduced episode counts in fall 2023?

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All six NBC Dick Wolf shows are getting reduced episode counts in fall 2023. Why is this happening? Is it a sign of cancellation?

Usually, when a TV show gets fewer episodes, it’s a sign of something bad. We often see it with a move to the midseason as the ratings take a dive. That is not the case with the Dick Wolf shows.

The six NBC shows continue to be among the most successful for the network. So why would NBC want to reduce the episode counts? What does this mean for other shows on the network or even on other networks? It could be a sign of a lot of change coming elsewhere.

Why the episode counts for the Dick Wolf shows is smaller

It all comes down to money. The linear ratings are taking a dive. This is happening across the board, with people turning to streaming platforms to watch TV shows instead. While the Dick Wolf shows are still some of the most popular shows on NBC, the live ratings are much lower than they used to be. Yes, lower live ratings happen when TV shows go on for longer, but networks usually see other TV shows start to take over. That’s not happening.

On top of that, TV shows are becoming more expensive to film. Then there are the post-production costs, which are also going up.

The best way for network TV to cut the costs is to reduce the episode counts. Let’s say one episode of TV costs $1 million (it’s actually more, but easy math), by cutting off four episodes, production is saving $4 million. That goes a long way for the networks.

It also reduces the filming time. This is great for the cast members who get to spend more time with their families. When Supernatural cut its episode count from 23 to 20, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki explained that they would get around a couple of extra months with their families and that meant a lot ot them.

MORE: How many episodes will be in Chicago Fire Season 12?

One Chicago* airs Wednesdays and the Law & Order* franchise airs Thursdays on NBC in the U.S. and on CityTV in Canada.