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Good-bye 'Law & Order,' hello White House?

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Another sign that former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson may be launching a presidential bid: NBC executives aren't expecting him back on "Law & Order" next season.

The network has renewed the crime procedural for its 18th season, and plans to air it at 8 p.m. on Sunday nights starting in January, after football ends. But when the program returns, it looks like that there will be a new district attorney in town.

Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment, told reporters Monday that the network is waiting to hear from Thompson about whether he is interested in continuing to play the crusty District Atty. Arthur Branch, but doesn't anticipate that he will be part of the cast.

"It's highly likely that Fred will not be back to the show," Reilly said.

In recent weeks, Thompson has hinted that he's interested in making a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. If so, he'll have to let the network know soon so NBC can sort out the show's casting needs and production schedule.

- Matea Gold

(Photo by J. Emilio Flores / Getty Images)

 
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