Republican presidential candidate and TV veteran former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) dropped out of the race, according to various reports.
The exit had been expected after Thompson failed to win any primaries, including South Carolina, on which the Southerner had pinned his hopes for a turn-around and where he came in third.
The move means TV networks can start running episodes of Law & Order with Thompson in them with impunity.
While TNT did not adjust its schedule, NBC chose not to air any Thompson repeats after he officially declared as a candidate, although it wasn't scheduled to air any anyway.
That move arose from the equal opportunities clause of the Communications Act, which requires Federal Communications Commission licensees to provide airtime to every federal candidate for an office if they offer it to any. That applies to entertainment appearances like Thompson’s' on L&O, although not to news coverage.
Democrat candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) just invoked the rule in a vain attempt to get on the CNN debate Monday night.