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.
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 day this fall, SVU remains NBC’s best drama bet as a launching pad for new drama series and this fall helped launch Chicago Fire, which has received a full-season order. Airing with virtually no lead-in (NBC’s struggling Wednesday comedy block), SVU has improved its challenging Wednesday 9 PM slot by 55% in adults 18-49 year-to-year but the network aired the now-defunct Harry’s Law in the hour last fall. In Live+7, SVU, from Wolf Films and Universal TV, averages a 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers this season.
I’ve learned that NBC has closed a deal to renew Dick Wolf‘s veteran procedural Law & Order: SVU for a 14th season. Additionally, the network has given a series order to the Wolf-produced firefighter drama pilot Chicago Fire. And I also hear the producer has signed a new deal with NBC to stay at his long-time home, where he also is producing a new military competition reality series with Mark Burnett.
Chicago Fire, from Universal Television and Wolf Films, stars House‘s Jesse Spencer and is described as a action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department. Derek Haas and Michael Brandt wrote the script and are executive producing with Wolf and his executives Danielle Gelber and Peter Jankowski. Eamonn Walker, Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund, David Eigenberg, Charlie Barnett, Lauren German, Teri Reeves and Merle Dandridge co-star.
Despite its ratings taking a hit this season following the departure of co-star Chris Meloni and with the series being stuck with an anemic lead-in, Law & Order: SVU (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 7.6 million total viewers in most current season averages) has remained one of NBC’s strongest series, ranking third behind The Voice-boosted Smash and Parenthood among adults 18-49. SVU star …
At NBC’s TCA executive session this morning, the network’s chairman Bob Greenblatt addressed the future of Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay. Her work load this season had originally been reduced to accommodate her taking care of her new baby, sparking speculation that she may be leaving sometime this season. But she ended up being in every episode and will likely stay on the show beyond this season, Greenblatt said. “Mariska is not leaving SVU,” he said. Hargitay confirmed that in a pre-taped video. “I’ll be back,” she said. “I can’t leave this show, I’m having too much fun.” Hargitay did the video with Harry Connick Jr. who is joining SVU for a four-episode arc as her love interest, a new dedicated, straight-shooting Executive ADA assigned a case with Detective Benson (Hargitay).
The WGA East like other unions and guilds has been a supporter of the Occupy protests that have cropped up around the nation, especially in New York City. But Occupy Wall Street’s recent siege of a Manhattan set for NBC and Wolf Films’ Law & Order: SVU — a show written and produced by WGA East members and featuring a crew from other industry unions — has got the guild peeved. The set was part of an episode that centered on a crime committed at the Occupy camp site at New York’s Zuccotti Park, and protesters made their opposition to it known by “occupying” the location at midnight before the NYPD cleared them out. The city pulled the show’s filming permit and the shoot never happened. Here’s WGA East’s open letter to protesters and the police, whom it takes to task for making them strike the set.
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has strongly and actively supported the Occupy Wall Street movement from its inception. Our union members and staff have participated in many OWS actions, and we have endorsed OWS’ important message that corporate greed and economic inequality are wrong.
So we were disappointed to learn that last week people associated with Occupy Wall Street disrupted the set of an episode of Law
Complete with a sign reading “We are a movement, not a TV plot,” New York’s Occupy Wall Street protesters made their way last night to “occupy” a Law & Order: SVU set in New York’s Foley Square that featured a mock-up of the protesters’ onetime camp at Zuccotti Park. The replica included a library and a kitchen like at the original site, which was taken down last month by the city. The plan was for SVU to shoot this morning one of its ripped-from-the-headlines episodes featuring a story with the camp as a backdrop. But protesters, evidently not fans of that idea, changed that: In the end, after the NYPD came in to clear out the crowd, producer Dick Wolf Films saw its film permit rescinded sometime overnight, and no scenes were shot. Dick Wolf Films and NBC have declined comment so far. Here’s a video from the event:
EXCLUSIVE: Andre Braugher is in negotiations for a recurring role on NBC’s veteran procedural Law & Order: SVU. He will play an attorney for the underprivileged who may get close with Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). This marks Braugher’s most significant stint on a crime drama and a return to NBC after his Emmy-winning leading role on Homicide. Additionally, he guest starred in an episode of the mothership Law & Order series 15 years ago. Braugher, repped by WME and Principato-Young, last month received his second consecutive Emmy nomination for his role on TNT’s critically praised but recently canceled dramedy Men Of a Certain Age.
After Ronni Chasen’s murder and Charlie Sheen’s meltdown, another recent Hollywood headline is getting fictionalized by the Law & Order franchise. An episode of the upcoming 13th season of the only surviving Law & Order series, Law & Order: SVU, will feature a storyline loosely inspired by the recent bombshell revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a son with a member of his household staff more than a decade ago. More from our sister site TVLine, which has the story.
Law & Order: SVU co-star BD Wong already landed a new regular job on NBC’s midseason drama Awake, which put his future on the veteran crime drama in doubt. Today on Twitter Wong confirmed that he is done with SVU. “I actually do not return for Season 13 of SVU! I’m jumping to Awake!,” he wrote. “It was amazing to have such a cool job for 11 years and to be a real NY Actor.” Wong joins SVU star Christopher Meloni who also is leaving the procedural this summer.
Former Law & Order: SVU assistant district attorneys Stephanie March and Diane Neal are returning to the NBC drama for its 13th season, executive producer Warren Leight said today. March, who played ADA Alexandra Cabot during seven seasons, and Neal, who played ADA Casey Novak during six seasons, will appear an undetermined number of episodes. They join newly hired detectives Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish in the cast, which includes returnees Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T and Richard Belzer. The series will air in the fall Wednesdays at 10 PM.
It looks like NBC and Dick Wolf have finally cracked the case of what to do with the cast of Law Order: SVU. After a tumultuous month that saw series staples Mariska Hargitay decide to stay in a reduced role and Christopher Meloni decide to depart altogther, the network today announced it has signed former Chase star Kelli Giddish and former Cold Case regular Danny Pino to play the show’s new detectives. The announcement was made by NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt. “Kelli and Danny are two great actors who will join a proven cast headed by Mariska Hargitay as this exceptional series heads into a very promising 13th season,” Greenblatt said. Added exec producer/creator Wolf: “I’m very pleased that we have two amazing actors joining the cast. I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU with new eyes.”
Pino was one of five actors to test for the role vacated by Meloni, who already has signed on to a big-time part in Warner Bros’ Superman redo Man of Steel. He played Senior Detective Scotty Valens on seven seasons of CBS’ Cold Case, and more recently guest starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice. Giddish starred on the short-lived NBC series Chase last season and has appeared in guest-star roles on both SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, so she knows some of the terrain already.