JACK MCCOY. Sam Waterston played the executive assistant district attorney...

JACK MCCOY. Sam Waterston played the executive assistant district attorney on "Law & Order" since 1994. Each episode married police investigation in the first half-hour with courtroom prosecution in the second. It was a popular formula that led to spinoffs and an "L&O" franchise. Credit: NBC Universal


 Spoke with the great Sam Waterston earlier this week, about his Oceana benefit in Water Mill tomorrow, and of course we spoke of "Law & Order" too.

  His sober assessment: "I think it's gone. I do...I do."

  As you may be aware, New York Mag has reported that AMC is now kicking the tires of the classic, but warned that at $3 mill per episode, that's probably too steep. And after creator Dick Wolf floated a cryptic statement some weeks ago that there may still be life ahead, he's been notably silent since then. 

  Waterston - who told me he knows nothing about the AMC talks and that no one has approached him about continuation, either on the mother show or the LA spin-off - is moving ahead. He's starring with another doughty Broadway vet, Brian Murray, in Simon Grey's "The Old Masters" that'll come to Broadway sometime in the new year for a six-month run; it'll first have a short run at New  Haven's Long Wharf.

  Of the "L&O" cancellation, said he:  "It came down as a surprise because it would have been a victory lap year. It was a job that was too good to leave so it was probably good for all of us that we weren't given that choice because we never would have left - we were all in danger of getting way too comfortable.

  "But I've told you everything I know, which is nothing. Nobody is telling me anything - and not because they're hiding anything..."

  OK - yes, sad. But especially sad are the state of the oceans, and Sam and I spoke of that vastly important subject so near to his heart as well...

  "Oceana [launched by Ted Danson] has been around for quite a while and Ted has been involved in this much longer than I have - I've only been on the board for about five years...But I think anyone who lives near the sea knows that things haven't been going right and ...it's wonderfful to have an organization that gives you a place to put your energy and not just have it wasted in frustration..."

 "The oceans are about seventy percent of the earth's surface and of all the money given to environmental causes, only about two percent is going to those in support of ocean causes...They need all the help they can get; you don't like to think about how dependent we are on the sea, and that's probably why so little money goes to stop" environmental degradation.

  Here's what Newsday wrote about tomorrow's big affair...

"Jackson Browne will play an intimate, solo acoustic show at a private home in the Hamptons next month, but a ticket can be yours - for just $500, Newsday's Rafer Guzmán reports. The singer of mellow pop hits like "Somebody's Baby" and "Doctor My Eyes" will perform as part of an inaugural Hamptons party called "Splash," a fundraiser for Oceana, an environmental group focused on ocean conservation. The party, and Browne's concert, will be July 10 at the Water Mill home of financier Andrew Zaro and his wife, Lois Robbins, an Oceana council member. Ted Danson and Sam Waterston will host. Go to oceanasplashparty.org for more information and tickets.

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