Veteran police and legal drama “Law & Order” — which, in 20 years on the air, spawned four spin-offs, a reality series, a television movie, a handful of video games, international adaptations and a bevy of humorless rip-offs — has been canceled, according to reports, just shy of stealing the title for longest-running drama in U.S. television history.

The cancellation is at least partly due to the loss of a syndication deal between NBC/Universal and TNT, TV Guide Magazine reports. NBC has allegedly decided to discontinue the series after the Turner network declined to renew an agreement to host reruns of the show. The previous deal will expire at the end of the current season.

Declining ratings and a host of newer, more cutting-edge cop dramas — including “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Undercovers” — have also been offered as reasons for the series’ cancellation.


Fans should not despair, however, as NBC will carry the flag with a brand-new spin-off series, “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” slated for fall of this year.

As of the time of this report, NBC was not commenting on this development.

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