'L&O' gets caught up in politics

Published May 15, 2007

NEW YORK - NBC's top entertainment executive said Monday that he doesn't expect actor and potential Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson back on Law & Order next season.

NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly claimed no insider knowledge of Thompson's political plans, but his statement indicated the seriousness of Thompson's presidential musings.

The former Tennessee senator has been making speaking appearances and blogging on issues in recent weeks as he considers running.

"It's pretty clear that Fred is going to be leaving the cast of the show no matter what, " Reilly said at a news conference on NBC's fall schedule. Thompson plays District Attorney Arthur Branch.

Reilly later left the door slightly ajar by saying it was "highly unlikely" Thompson would be back. Thompson certainly wouldn't return to prime-time TV if he chooses to run, he said.

A Thompson spokesman did not return a call for comment.