Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 8:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

svuThat is one of the most intriguing questions heading into the upfronts this year. Of Dick Wolf‘s five Law & Order series, only one — first spinoff Law & Order: SVU – is still on the air. But its renewal is being complicated by financial issues. Now in its 15th season, Law & Order: SVU is the longest-running drama series currently on TV. As a high-end drama at that age, it is inherently expensive, leading to periodic budget reviews. Last year, SVU, nbclogoalong with Wolf’s then-freshman Chicago Fire, received early pickups. This year, Chicago Fire and freshman spinoff Chicago P.D. were among the shows to get early renewals by NBC last month, but SVU wasn’t. (All three are produced by NBC sibling Universal TV, where Wolf is based.) I hear the holdup has to do with a pay cut Wolf had been asked to take in order for SVU to come back, something he has been unwilling to do.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Both sides have a point. Wolf’s camp could argue that SVU is having one of its strongest seasons in years, with star Mariska Hargitay getting notices for her nuanced performance. Averaging a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating (most current), SVU ranks as the No. 4 NBC scripted drama this season behind The Blacklist (4.3), Chicago Fire (2.9) and Grimm (2.6). Last night, the show matched its best 18-49 Live+Same Day rating (2.1) since the season premiere, up 21% from last week. SVU also is up double digits vs. last season, by 21% in 18-49 and by 17% in total viewers, and has an off-network deal with USA. Plus, I hear Wolf had taken a pay cut on the show once and is reluctant to do it again.

chicagopdfireOn the other hand, as solid as they are, SVU‘s numbers still are nowhere near the show’s heyday, prompting the network’s request for cost reduction. Ironically, NBC is in position to hold firm in part because of Wolf’s success with the Chicago Fire franchise. With young series like The Blacklist, Grimm, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. (2.4 in 18-49) doing as well or better than SVU, the network is far less dependent on the veteran than it was just a couple of years ago. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ & ‘Survivor’ Steady, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Mixology’ Down, ‘SVU’ Rises

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:15am PDT

AI April 9Last night on American Idol (2.0/6) the ’80s were truly back in force. The two-hour live performance show saw the Top 8 belt out tunes from Blondie, Journey, Joan Jett, and Cyndi Lauper among others, some advice from Season 7 winner David Cook, a new hairdo from judge Keith Urban, plus an impromptu Madonna tune from Harry Connick Jr. It also saw the long-running reality competition series remain pretty steady with last week in adults 18-49 with a 5% dip and even with its total viewership of 8.8 million on April 2.

Idol again came up short against Survivor (2.4/8) in their common hour. Airing between 8-9 PM and the highest-rated show of the night, the veteran CBS competition series bopped up 4% from last week in the key demo. The Fox show drew a 1.9 among the 18-49s in the one-hour overlap. That’s the worst Idol has done against Survivor in adults 18-survivor april 949. The CBS show topped the Fox show for the first time ever in the common hour on March 12. The victory lap continued March 19 and saw Survivor beating Idol in total viewers in the 8 PM slot for the first time. On March 26, the one-hour Survivor bested the 2-hour Idol in total viewers overall. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘American Idol’ Steady, ‘SVU’, ‘Chicago PD’ & ‘Arrow’ Fall, ‘Criminal Minds’ & ‘Suburgatory’ Rise

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 9:03am PST

AI MARCH 5It was all American Idol (2.7/8) as usual last night on Fox with things up a bit from last week. The 2-hour live show saw this season’s Top 12 belting out tunes, including Emily Piriz taking on Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” right in front of the judge herself. It also saw Idol bopping up 4% from last week’s demo rating and steady in total viewers with 10.5 million, in line with the 10.6 million total from the show’s February 26 episode. Fox won the night among the key demo and among total viewers. CBS’ Criminal Minds was tops for the night in total viewers with 11.37 million and second  in the key demo with a 2.6/7, an 18% rise over last week. Criminal Minds did beat Idol again in viewers head-to-head, as the Fox show pulled in 10.58 million during their common hour. The demo result was also the closest the CBS show has ever gotten to Idol. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Mixology’ Soft In Debut, ‘Chicago P.D.’ Hits Series High With ‘SVU’ Crossover, ‘Survivor’ Steady In Return

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 9:37am PST
Nellie Andreeva

mixologyAfter so many duds this season, you start to root for a new ABC show to open. Upcoming drama Resurrection now remains the network’s last and only hope after back-to-back disappointments from the launches of drama Mind Games and comedy Mixology this week. Last night’s debut of Mixology (1.8 in adults 18-49) ranked as ABC’s lowest-rated comedy premiere this season and the third lowest overall for a Monday-Thursday comedy, only behind NBC’s now defunct Welcome To The Family (1.1) and Sean Saves The World (1.4). And that’s with one of the best comedy lead-ins on television, Modern Family, marking the lowest-rated debut following ABC’s flagship comedy. Yes, Modern Family is not the ratings powerhouse it used to be, with last night’s episode (3.1) down 11% from the last original to a season low. But still, Mixology‘s premiere rating was down a big 38% from the short-lived How To Live With Your Parents that premiered behind Modern Family last spring. The rest of ABC’s series also were down from their pre-Olympics originals. The Middle (1.8) was down 18%, Suburgatory (1.5) down 12% and Nashville (1.2) down 8%, all tying season lows. Read More »

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Katie Couric To Play Talk Show Host, Alec Baldwin To Play Controversial Newspaper Columnist On NBC’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 3:01pm PST

Alec Baldwin continues to leave public life, in aalec-baldwin-yoga110918175932-275x395 New York Magazine cover story called  “Good-Bye Public Life” and now, in a role on one of the country’s most watched TV series. NBC made it official today that Baldwin will guest star as a controversial New York newspaper columnist, in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU. Word of this guest gig got out earlier this month. But it wasn’t well known that Katie Couric will play herself — a TV show show host, that is — who grills Baldwin, as controversial New York newspaper columnist Jimmy MacArthur about the headline grabbing hate crime/rape case.

NBC wisely waited until Baldwin’s New York Magazine cover story came out and he was once again on the minds of the media to confirm he will play MacArthur, who questions the SVU squad’s motives during the investigation.  Icing on the cake: show star Mariska Hargitay is directing — her debut.

“In our story, ‘Jimmy Mac’s’ reporting  interferes with the investigation, which has a ripple effect when the case goes to trial,” EP Warren Leight explained in the announcement, adding that the chemistry between Baldwin and Hargitay “is palpable.”

The episode will air Wednesday, March 19.
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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Chicago P.D.’, ‘SVU’ & ‘Nashville’ Keep Rising, ‘Fun Night’ Hits Low

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 9:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

It must be disheartening for studio executives to see a clip show of old Super Bowl commercials beat handily original episodes of high-end comedy and drama series. CBS‘ annual Super Bowl commercials special (1.9) from 8-9 PM was down a tenth from last year but finished well ahead … Read More »

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TCA: NBC’s ‘Chicago PD’, ‘Chicago Fire’ & ‘Law & Order: SVU’ To Crossover Through Season

By | Sunday January 19, 2014 @ 12:58pm PST

Chicago PD Law & Order SVU The debut season of NBC‘s Chicago PD isn’t just going to see characters crossover with parent series Chicago Fire. It will also feature a Chicago-NY crossover with the network’s crime drama juggernaut Law & Order franchise – and that’s just the beginning, exec producer Dick Wolf teased today at TCA. The new police-focused series debuted earlier this month to OK ratings, focusing on Chicago Fire character Detective Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and a new cast of cops fighting crime in the Windy City. Overlap with Fire began with episode 1. “[David] Eigenberg was there with Pouch the dog,” Wolf noted, adding that storylines between the two Chicago dramas will arc “over a couple of episodes” with some regularity. PD star Sophia Bush revealed that she’s heading to New York this week to film a scene with Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay. Last fall it was reported that a PD/SVU crossover would air in February after the Sochi Olympics in which the New York unit comes to Chicago in pursuit of an interstate perp. “There is going to be a major crossover at the end of the season, a story that is so big it involves everybody,” Wolf teased.

Related: RATINGS RAT RACE: OK Start For ‘Chicago PD’

The planned multi-series crossovers could pave the way for more integration within the Chicago Fire/Chicago PD/SVU TV universe. Read More »

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‘Law & Order: SVU’ Veteran Dann Florek Exits As Captain Donald Cragen

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 4:14pm PST

Longtime Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU cast member Dann Florek filmed his last episode on Friday. After showrunner Warren Leight Tweeted pics from the set on Florek’s last day (see below), Florek also took to Twitter to send off his 18 years on active duty with the L&O franchise. The veteran originated his role as police captain Don Cragen on the first season of the original Law & Order before departing the show after its third season. Creator Dick Wolf brought Florek’s Cragen back for 1998 TV movie Exiled: A Law & Order Movie before installing him as head of a sex crimes unit in NBC’s 1999 spin-off SVU. He now exits that show after 15 consecutive seasons:

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‘L&O: SVU’ Defends Ripped-From-Headlines Crown During Anthony Weiner Week

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 7:39am PDT

It’s Anthony Weiner Week on broadcast TV! Two primetime drama series announced they will air competing Weiner-esque storylines, political scientists have navel-lint gazed in press reports about the phenomenon, and The Reporters Who Cover Television are poised … Read More »

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The Big Story Of Premiere Week So Far: NBC

ABC’s gloppiest-named new series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be the hottest launch of the three-day-old broadcast TV season, but The Big Story so far in Premiere Week ?

NBC.

NBC is up with every single one of its series on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights compared to Premiere Week 2012. The network has won seven of nine hours in the demo among broadcasters. In total viewers, it’s won six of the week’s first nine primetime hours and has moved from third place to first — making those Comcast guys look pretty clever for having re-upped NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt’s contract without waiting for Premiere Week numbers.

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Justin Hartley Joins ABC’s ‘Revenge’, Raul Esparza Upped To Regular On ‘Law & Order: SVU’

By | Friday July 12, 2013 @ 10:02am PDT

Justin Hartley has been tapped to play a major role in the upcoming third season of ABC’s Revenge. The former Smallville and Emily Owens MD star will play Patrick, … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Modern Family’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ & ‘Criminal Minds’ Hit Finale Lows, ‘Masterchef’ Down In Season Debut

By | Thursday May 23, 2013 @ 9:07am PDT

The final night of the 2012-2013 TV season saw six finales and one season debut. On ABC, Wednesday marked the Season 4 finale of Modern Family (3.6/11) at 9 PM. In a season that saw the comedy post its first adults 18-49 win over American Idol, last night’s episode dipped 3% from its May 14 show. While the highest-rated show of the night by far, Family also fell 12% from its Season 3 end on May 23, 2012 to hit an all-time season-finale low. That result could change a bit in the final numbers as the extra minute of Family is factored in. Last week, the show went up from its 3.5 in fast affiliate rating to a 3.6 later in the day. The Season 4 finale of The Middle (2.0/7) started ABC’s primetime last night, with the sitcom was up a slight 5% from last week and even with last year’s May 23, 2012 finale. A Modern Family (1.6/5) encore followed at 8:30 PM. How To Live With You Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) (2.2/6) was the only non-finale original on ABC last night. The newbie comedy was up 10% from its May 14 show. Nashville (1.9/5) wrapped its freshman cycle with cliffhangers-galore show that saw a 12% rise from last week.

Related: CBS Wins Season; ABC Tops Adults 18-49 In Final Week

A two-hour Criminal Minds (2.7/8) finale was the only original on CBS last night. Literally ending with a bang, the Season 8 ender of the recently renewed procedural series was up 4% from its May 14 episode but down a hard 25% from last season’s two-hour finale on May 16, 2012. Though the most watched show of the night with 10.80 million viewers, that’s a finale low for the series. With 8.982 million watching, CBS won the night in total viewers and tied with ABC (2.2) in adults 18-49. Read More »

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NBC Renews ‘Revolution,’ ‘Chicago Fire,’ ‘Parenthood,’ ‘Grimm’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’

By | Friday April 26, 2013 @ 11:49am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Sky In Three Season Deal For 'Revolution'NBC has handed the expected early renewals to its stronger drama series: freshmen Revolution and Chicago Fire as well as Parenthood, Grimm and veteran Law & Order: SVU. All have received full-season, 22-episode pickups. Missing from the drama list is recent addition Hannibal, which has dropped in the ratings the past two weeks after a solid start, and fellow midseason drama Deception. I hear NBC has not closed the door completely on Deception though a renewal appears unlikely. “On the verge of our 2013 fall scheduling decisions, we’re pleased to renew five drama series that will be important to our new-season lineup,” NBC’s entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. “We’re especially pleased to be renewing Revolution and Chicago Fire — two first-season successes — and there will be more returning series announcements made in the next couple of weeks.” Those announcements will no doubt include reality hit The Voice and veteran comedy Parks And Recreation, which are assured a return for next season. All the other NBC comedies are heavily on the bubble. Things look a little better for The New Normal, which just won a GLAAD Award and comes from top producer Ryan Murphy, with Matthew Perry starrer Go On also in contention. Meanwhile, cult favorite Community‘s future is cloudy, with the future of multi-camera entries Whitney and Guys With Kids also in limbo. NBC might keep one of the multi-cam sitcoms for continuity as it is likely to order at least one, the Sean Hayes/Victor Fresco project, and expanding NBC’s multi-camera footprint appears to be a priority for the network’s brass.

The renewal for Law & Order: SVU comes before the producers have secured the return of star Mariska Hargitay. Today’s announcement gives producer Dick Wolf two series on the NBC schedule next season, L&O: SVU and Chicago Fire. They could be joined by the proposed Chicago Fire spinoff. The renewal brings more good news for Grimm, which recently received a temporary time slot upgrade and The Voice lead-in. Here are details about NBC’s newly renewed dramas: Read More »

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Dick Wolf Confident Of ‘Chicago Fire’ Renewal, Says Boston Marathon Storyline Would Be Difficult: NBC Press Day

By | Monday April 22, 2013 @ 12:29pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

Chicago Fire creator and exec producer Dick Wolf sounded confident this morning that his freshman firefighter drama would be renewed for a second season, considering that the hour has helped to goose ratings in its Wednesday night time slot 17% this season with adults 18-49. How confident is he? “We even know what the first episode of the third season is,” Wolf admitted at today’s NBC Summer Press Day. “We are definitely looking at the remainder of this season as a jumping-off point for next season.” And in fact, as Deadline has reported extensively, a Chicago Fire spinoff is very much in the works, with the rookie season finale tabbed as the jumping-off point for a series centered in the Chicago Police Department. It too will be from Wolf Films and Universal TV. However, in keeping with his tight-lipped style, Wolf would say only, “We always talk about every possible permutation of what can happen, but we never talk about development.” When asked if it is in fact renewed, might he consider a storyline paying homage to the responders of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing. “Dealing with terrorism is very very tough, that’s all I’m gonna say,” Wolf said, before adding, “The last thing we want to do is exploit a tragedy that is so specific that it would be difficult.” Read More »

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‘Law & Order: SVU’ Plot Spawned From Todd Akin Story

By | Tuesday March 26, 2013 @ 2:40pm PDT

NBC‘s Law & Order franchise warns onscreen that the story it’s about to tell “is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event”, but it’s known for plotlines that are taken straight from news headlines of … Read More »

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‘Law & Order’ Boss Dick Wolf Praises ‘SVU’ Episode Featuring Mike Tyson

By | Saturday February 2, 2013 @ 9:50pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Dick Wolf, creator of the Law & Order franchise, has weighed in on the controversial upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU, which guest stars former boxer Mike Tyson in his first acting gig playing someone other than … Read More »

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Mike Tyson’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Episode Moved Up A Week

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 2:20pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Ever since we broke the news of former boxer Mike Tyson‘s guest stint on NBC’s veteran crime drama Law & Order: SVU, the casting has become a lighting rod for controversy as it involves Tyson, who was convicted of rape 20 years ago, appearing on a show about getting justice for sex crime victims. NBC has now moved up the episode, originally scheduled for February 13, to February 6. According to the Washington Post, the move was made so that the Mike Tyson episode does not air on the eve of One Billion Rising, a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors. It follows weeks of pressure from advocate groups who have protested the casting, including launching a petition asking NBC to recast the role. In a recent TV Guide interview, Tyson, who continues to profess his innocence in the 1991 incident involving a Miss Black America pageant contestant for which he served 3 years, defended his gig. “I’m just trying to feed my family,” he said. “I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes. I’m just trying to live my life.” Read More »

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Mike Tyson To Play Convicted Murderer On ‘Law & Order: SVU’

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 6:16pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In his TV acting debut, former boxer Mike Tyson is going for some dark, dramatic stuff with a guest starring role on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He will play Reggie Rhodes, a murderer on death row whose violent actions may in part be the byproduct of a horrible childhood. His case attracts the attention of Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and defense attorney Bayard Ellis (recurring guest star Andre Braugher) during an SVU investigation. Also guest starring in the episode is Ed Asner as someone connected to the investigation. Read More »

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NBC Orders 2 Additional Episodes Of ‘Law & Order: SVU’

By | Thursday December 6, 2012 @ 5:34pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: NBC has expanded the current 14th season of Law & Order: SVU to 24 episodes with the pickup of two extra hours. While the crime drama is showing its age, averaging a 1.7 18-49 rating in Live+same … Read More »

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