NEW YORK — Hours before last weeks premiere of his new series, Chicago P.D., Dick Wolf acknowledged he was nervous.
Actually, terrified was the word he used.
This from a TV impresario whose credits include the hydra-headed Law & Order franchise and whose shows have been a prime-time mainstay every season for a quarter-century a feat likely unmatched by any other producer.
Wolfs Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is in its 15th season, airing at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on NBC.
Cold Justice, a reality series where a former prosecutor and a former crime-scene investigator bring fresh eyes to moribund cases, returns on TNT for its second season at 8 p.m. Friday. (This debut episode revisits the 2001 disappearance of an Altus, Okla., woman whose ex-husband, long a suspect, was arrested only last month with help from the show, then led officials to the womans buried remains.)
Chicago Fire, an action drama about big-city firefighters, is midway through its second robust season on NBC, airing at 10 p.m. Tuesdays.
And now on NBC at 10 p.m. Wednesdays is Chicago P.D., a Fire spinoff that could spark a new franchise for Wolf: a Chicago-branded portfolio.
Why not? The morning after it premiered, Wolf would learn that a solid 8.6 million viewers had tuned in.
But during an interview last Wednesday, there was more on Wolfs mind than his new show. He was also marking the publication of his latest novel.
The Execution brings back NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk, whom Wolf introduced in his first novel, The Intercept. Now, Fisks Joint Terrorism Task Force is back on high alert as an elusive assassin heads to Manhattan for United Nations Week, when the worlds most powerful leaders will be gathered and vulnerable.
There are stories that are just too big for a series episode or even an arc, said Wolf when asked what prompted his literary ventures.
But how did Wolf, with his TV empire to tend, find time to be an author?
Ive got small kids, he replied with a laugh before sharing iPhone photos of his 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. I have a very pleasant existence in Montecito (Calif.). Im on a school schedule now, home in the morning 90 percent of the time. So writing became a routine.
What he called my quiet hope is that these thrillers and their hero might inspire an annual Jeremy Fisk miniseries.
But weekly, scripted drama remains Wolfs forte. He considers himself a businessman, generating inventory with a lucrative afterlife as cable repeats.
The stakes are so huge for the next decade! he said, picturing the same happy prospect for his Chicago shows.
Meanwhile, hes thinking internationally. He produces a Law & Order edition for the United Kingdom, Law & Order: Criminal Intent in France and Russian versions of CI and SVU, among other global iterations.
Id really like that to happen with Fire and P.D., he said. Every big city on the planet has a police department and a fire department. How about Paris Fire?
And all the better if, back home, this domestic duo spawns a third Chicago series. How about Chicago Justice?
From your lips to Mr. Nielsens ears, Wolf replied. But theres no possibility of that happening unless P.D. succeeds. So believe me when I say that our entire focus is getting this one to work.