UPDATE: 'Law & Order' is canceled by NBC

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The venerable police-courtroom drama “Law & Order” has been axed.

NBC announced Friday that the show would end its historic 20-year run on May 24.

The show starred an ensemble cast of S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, Linus Roache, Alana De La Garza and Sam Waterston.

Even as it canceled the original “Law & Order,” NBC announced a new drama in the “Law & Order” franchise called “LOLA” (“Law & Order: Los Angeles”). It will also renew “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for a 12th season.

NBC’s full 2010-11 schedule will be officially released Sunday.

The abrupt end of “Law & Order” could be explained by sagging ratings and creative fatigue, but a renewal had been widely expected nonetheless. Then, on Thursday, a flurry of reports declared the series to be doomed. NBC refused to confirm the reports. Negotiations were said to be continuing.

Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television, said the legacy of “Law & Order” creator-producer Dick Wolf “will continue to make an impact like no other series before.”

But the cancellation denies Wolf his long-held dream of surpassing “Gunsmoke” as TV’s longest-running drama.

“Never complain, never explain,” he said in a statement.