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NBC commits to more Law & Order: SVU

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 4th 2009 8:19AM
Meloni and Hargitay SVU
This doesn't come as a surprise, does it? NBC has ordered an 11th season of Law & Order: SVU. It isn't a surprise because of all the shows on NBC's roster – not including ER, which just had a celebrated swan song – are struggling in the ratings. Law & Order SVU is the lone exception, still drawing nearly 10 million viewers and at least keeping NBC challenging in the Tuesday night ratings.

It's not as strong as it once was, but what show is on NBC? It would have been network hari-kari to let SVU hit the road.

However, before all you Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay fans start breathing a sigh of relief, you might want to read on. It turns out that NBC's renewal is for the show, but not the stars. That still has to be negotiated. Right now their deals end in May. To me, re-signing these charismatic stars should be a slam dunk. Without either of them, SVU is just not the same show. You need them on that show; you want them on that show; you have to have them on that show!

But these days there are no sure things. In 2007, when Meloni and Hargitay signed the current two-year contracts, it was only after a lot of wrangling. Even after getting $330,000 an episode each, there was a lingering bitterness over the fight. And can you blame them for feeling that way?

Look at the kind of money CSI stars are earning, or Kiefer Sutherland ($23 million for one season of 24, as of his last contract). While it's true that we're in a recession and ad revenues are down and NBC is definitely in a downturn, that's not how the stars are looking at it. They see SVU as one of NBC's only sure things and Dick Wolf, the creator/producer, is making a fortune in syndication as every year of the show piles up. Why shouldn't the actors benefit, too?

Here's what is likely to happen: there will be tough negotiations and you'll hear about Mariska Hargitay contemplating staying home full time especially since she's recently had some health issues. In the end, a deal will be done and the stars will stay put. It may only be one more year, but NBC will find a way to keep SVU in the fold. Of course, it won't be a 10 o'clock show anymore unless it moves to Sunday night. Remember, Jay Leno owns all of NBC's weekday 10 o'clocks next season.

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I definitely think the show would go downhill without Mariska Hargitay or Christopher Meloni. They are 2 of the biggest reasons why I love the show. I always feel so on-edge when they're together because they have great chemistry. If they're going to not be on the show anymore, at least give it one more season and have them hook up! They were totally meant to be. =)
I am a big fan of SVU but if they're not on it, I don't think I could force myself to watch it. It's even hard to watch it when they get a new ADA... I can't imagine watching it without the 2 main characters.

June 14 2009 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's harakiri ....


April 04 2009 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's still one of my favorite shows. It's not as good as The Shield or even NYPD Blue, but I love it nonetheless. It's hard for me to imagine it without Hargitay and/or Meloni.

April 04 2009 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Law & Order
Law & Order : Special Victims Unit
Law & Order : Criminal Intent
Law & Order : Crime and Punishment
Law & Order : Trial by Jury

My favourite is Criminal Intent and it was shoved off to USA network which I don't get BLAH !!!

April 04 2009 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I simply can't imagine SVU without Chris and Mariska. I watch because of them - I'm so enthralled by their characters, the relationship between their characters (partners, but... who knows?), and the way their cases affect their lives. I don't think NBC even carries another show that I watch, so in my opinion (and viewing habits), the network would be crazy not to throw major amounts of money their way to keep them. I think they do an amazing job, plus with all the charity work Mariska does with her own creation (the Joyful Heart Foundation) - MH and CM are among those few celebrities that I actually respect and admire. Hopefully we'll hear that they've signed soon!

April 04 2009 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Given the lack of an appropriate time slot next fall, and the need (after 10 years on the air) for the stories to therefore grow ever more sordid, isn't it time to just stop? Aren't there enough SVU reruns day, night, and weekends too, both cable and broadcast?

This isn't to say I wouldn't want to see a wholly different show featuring Munch and maybe a few of his cohorts, suitable for an earlier hour. How bad could it be? No such transition could be worse than Beverly Hills Buntz, after all, and the best example - Lou Grant - is something to aspire to.

April 04 2009 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gottacook's comment

I agree, especially if they need to come back without their two main stars. Then it would be time to just pack it in.


April 04 2009 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SVU used to be may favorite of the L&O's, but in the past few years it's been boring, and I hate the obvious "for your emmy consideration" eps showcasing Olivia or Elliot in over-emoting overdrive.

I love Fin and Munch, and wouldn't mind at all if next year focused on them. Sorry, I just can't feel badly for anyone who makes $330,000 a week. They can stay home for all I care.

April 04 2009 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JennieO's comment

Even with NBC's and the industry's economic woes, how can NBC afford not pleasing SVU's stars? SVU and Heroes are their top two rated scripted shows. NBC has little leverage because NBC needs the stars more than the stars need NBC.

But that's conditioned on the belief that Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay make or break SVU.

April 04 2009 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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