It's official: Dennis Farina will be joining the cast of Law & Order in the role of the older, wiser, been-around-the-block detective, as announced at NBC's unveiling of their new fall schedule. Law & Order producer Dick Wolf says, "I've known Dennis for 20 years, and he's a terrific actor, a consummate professional and a truly nice guy."

The new line-up also includes a boxing reality show (zzzz), a show starring Melissa Etheridge's wife, the Americano version of The Office, a sitcom with John Cho (starred in Better Luck Tomorrow but is better known as one of the MILF guys from American Pie), and a show called Medical Investigations with a young and sexy cast but it just sounds like Diagnosis Murder to us. And while Friends spin-off Joey seems dubious (in spite of the good buzz NBC is trying to "leak"), we must give NBC's marketing department for releasing this photo from the show, to help American think "Well, it's Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani - and there will be hot girls in a tight clothes - we're on board!" Actually, NBC showed an entire episode of Joey, which surprised the Daily News' David Bianculli with how good it was; apparently Drea de Matteo, as Joey's sister, makes him feels her boob job. Even if it's good, it's going to be a long fall. But in the good news, Scrubs was renewed for another two seasons, and there's a new drama, LAX, starring Heather Locklear. For that, Gothamist is thankful, because TV without Heather Locklear just doesn't seem like TV.

Matt LeBlanc and Drea de Matteo in Joey; Photo: NBC

While CNN claims that it's surprising that Law & Order: Trial By Jury with Jerry Orbach isn't on the schedule, Gothamist, perhaps having read that the spin-off was rumored to be a mid-season replacement earlier, wasn't too worried. Let's face it - NBC is probably saving L&O: Trial By Jury to replace some crappy shows that will premiere in the fall. Related: Reader Dave told us there was a Wall Street Journal article about the L&O franchise on NBC, basically discussing how it accounts for 22% of its prime time line up and is still going strong, with Dick Wolf concocting more spin-offs.

Gothamist on Dennia Farina's fit for Law & Order and on the idea of no more Lennie Briscoe and Jerry Orbach's last day of filming.