Orbach's Swan Song "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" Episodes Earn NBC High Ratings

News   Orbach's Swan Song "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" Episodes Earn NBC High Ratings The new NBC spinoff "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," with Broadway veterans Bebe Neuwirth and the late Jerry Orbach, scored well with audiences on its preview showing and won the night for its timeslot debut, according to Nielsen preliminary ratings.

The new drama series played March 3 in the 10-11 PM slot prior to its series premiere March 4 at 10 PM — where the show will regularly play Friday evenings. (All times ET. Check your local listings.)

After a successful first airing March 3 — pulling in 17.3 million total viewers to win that hour — the show debuted to 14.4 million overall viewers in its regular timeslot March 4, the highest-rated and most-watched show of the evening.

In the first episode titled "The Abominable Showman," an aspiring actress is found murdered and all signs point to a pompous Broadway producer. Guest stars included Tony Bill, Candice Bergen, Annabella Sciorra and "L&O" regular Sam Waterston.

"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" is the latest branch of the popular Dick Wolf series. The new show will explore the criminal justice system from the "point-of-view of the prosecutors and police but also from the perspective of the defense attorneys, defendants, judges and jurors," according to materials.

Tony Award winner and fellow stage stalwart Bebe Neuwirth is featured in the cast alongside Amy Carlson ("Third Watch") and Kirk Acevedo ("Band of Brothers"). Orbach reprised his role from the original drama — which he played for 12 seasons — as Lennie Briscoe with co-star Fred Dalton Thompson, reprising his "Law & Order" role as Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch. Former The Graduate star Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos") and The Caretaker actor Aidan Gillen ("The Wire") will appear in the upcoming March 11 episode. The late Broadway veteran actor Orbach had already filmed a number of episodes at the time of his recent death. His role on "Trial by Jury" was catered so the veteran actor only worked a two-day weekly schedule.

For more information, visit the NBC website at www.nbc.com.