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Chung-chung: "Law & Order" returns

December 3, 2007 |  3:01 pm

That deep-timbre chime you hear echoing in your head could only mean one thing: “Law & Order” is back.

After sidelining the long-running crime procedural this fall, NBC announced today that the drama is returning to the air Jan. 2 with a two-hour premiere, with subsequent episodes airing at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Creator Dick Wolf, who complained that last season’s Friday-night time slot contributed to the show’s slipping ratings, seems pretty happy with the scheduling.

“We hope the return to our longtime time slot of Wednesday at 10 will bring renewed success to the show, not just from our core fans, but from a new generation of viewers as well,” he said in a statement.

And if that weren’t enough for “L&O” fans, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” -- the youngest of the franchise, which was bumped over to USA this season and has been performing well there -– is returning to NBC on Jan. 9, making Wednesdays a regular “Law & Order” mini-marathon.

It’s all part of the network’s much-ballyhooed “repurposing” strategy (which now seems kind of prescient as the writers strike stretches into its fifth week). “Criminal Intent” reruns will be replayed on NBC at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, followed by the so-called “mothership.”

-- Matea Gold