EXCLUSIVE: The Law & Order franchise has established its own unique production schedule, which involves the series regularly staying in continuous production after the end of the season to bank a few episodes for the following season. The plan this year was to film three additional episodes for veteran crime drama Law & Order: SVU‘s upcoming 16th season, launching in the fall. But, after finishing two of them, the show has decided to scrap the last one due to exhaustion on the part of the cast, particularly star Mariska Hargitay, with the shelved episode to be shot with the rest of Season 16 when the show returns from hiatus. Season 15 is being hailed as one of the series’ strongest, with Emmy winner Hargitay getting notices for her nuanced acting. But it’s been a grueling season, with a lot of emotional performances that has taken a toll on everyone, especially Hargitay, who is the center and the heart of the show and who also made her directorial debut on SVU this past season. Most drama series do 22 episodes a season at the most, Law & Order: SVU produces 24. “In the last 12 months Mariska appeared in 26 episodes, directed one, produced two benefits that raised millions of dollars for her Joyful Heart Foundation, and is also the full-time mother of three young children,” L&O: SVU creator/executive producer Dick Wolf said. “Even a Super Woman needs a break sometime.
After lengthy negotiations, NBC has closed a deal with producer Dick Wolf for a 16th season of crime drama Law & Order: SVU. Star Mariska Hargitay is expected to return. SVU was conspicuously missing from NBC’s list of early renewals in March. The holdup had to do with a pay cut Wolf had been asked to take in order for the show to come back, something he has been unwilling to do. For a little while, things looked like touch and go, with showrunner Warren Leight exploring other jobs, but he recently re-committed to SVU as a deal with NBC began to look imminent. The renewal restores Wolf’s NBC drama series tally to three for a second consecutive season. His Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. already had been renewed.
Katie Couric To Play Talk Show Host, Alec Baldwin To Play Controversial Newspaper Columnist On NBC’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’
Alec Baldwin continues to leave public life, in a 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.
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.
The planned multi-series crossovers could pave the way for more integration within the Chicago Fire/Chicago PD/SVU TV universe.
After a couple of weeks of negotiations, Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal for the upcoming 15th season of Law & Oder: SVU. “Happy weekend. It’s official. Season 15–I’LL BE BACK!,” Hargitay tweeted yesterday. NBC renewed the veteran procedural without Hargitay being signed but she was fully expected to return. Next season Hargitay and her former SVU co-star Chris Meloni both will be in primetime, with Meloni toplining the new Fox comedy Surviving Jack. In 2006, Hargitay won an Emmy for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on the veteran NBC drama.
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).
NBC Buys Comedic Drama Set Behind The Scenes Of Reality Series; Mariska Hargitay, Andrew Lazar & Steve Shainberg Producing
EXCLUSIVE: NBC already has a series set behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show in Emmy-winning comedy 30 Rock. Now the network is looking to pull back the veil on the inner workings of reality series. NBC has bought American Dream, an hourlong spec written by Paul Kolsby and executive produced by Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, feature producer Andrew Lazar and Steve Shainberg. Shainberg, director of the 2002 feature Secretary, is also attached to direct the potential pilot. American Dream is described as a bitingly funny, risque and sophisticated melodrama about the symbiotic relationship between network executives and the “talent” in a reality television series.
Kolsby, a playwright and screenwriter, had a lot of personal experience to draw on in writing the American Dream — he has worked as a producer on a number of reality series, including Jersey Shore and Bridezillas. Kolsby developed the project with Shainberg and Lazar. Original Artists, which reps Kolsby and Lazar then gave the script to Hargitay who loved it and came on board as an executive producer. Through her producing deal at NBC, she took the script to the network’s brass who picked it up. Hargitay is repped by CAA; Shainberg is managed by Industry Entertainment. Lazar is currently producing Akira for Warners with Jaume Collete-Serra directing and Gunslinger for New Regency with James Mangold directing.
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Why She Was Nominated: The TV academy really had no choice. While this is Moss’ third consecutive nomination for Mad Men (two for lead, one for supporting), it’s one that for the first time raises Moss above the crowd. The submitted episode, “The Suitcase” (written by creator-showrunner Matthew Weiner), is an actress’ dream. It elevates her to the favorite’s position in a year when none of the past three category winners (Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close and Sally Field) is in the running.
Why She Has To Win: From the time it premiered, “The Suitcase” episode of Mad Men has been hailed as the show’s clear-cut accolade vehicle. It found Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Peggy Olson (Moss) hanging together in the office after hours when Don finds out a close friend has died. They get plastered on booze, and Draper lets loose in a way he rarely does. Moss more than holds her with Hamm in an episode that stands to win a bunch of people a bunch of Emmys (Moss included). “This episode is absolute magic,” a producer tells me, “and Elisabeth Moss is a big reason why.”
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: She’s never won before, and neither has anyone else from Mad Men — yet. If it doesn’t happen this year, we can all start writing about the cast being cursed. It’s also a fact that Julianna Margulies could win here and no one would be the slightest bit shocked.
UPDATE: Five Testing For ‘SVU’ Male Lead – Danny Pino, Kevin Alejandro, David Conrad, Michael Raymond-James, Rhys Coiro
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE 5 PM: Law & Order: SVU is going younger with its new male lead. I hear that Dick Wolf and NBC have narrowed the search for an actor to replace departing Chris Meloni to four actors – Danny Pino (Cold Case), Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, Southland), David Conrad (Ghost Whisperer) and Michael Raymond-James (Terriers). The four are being flown to New York where they will test tomorrow opposite returning SVU star Mariska Hargitay. Of the four, Alejandro and Raymond-James recently did guest spots on SVU. New NBC boss Bob Greenblatt said in May that the network “wants to keep refreshing an old franchise” with its changes to the veteran crime procedural. Hargitay, who recently adopted a baby, had asked for a lighter work schedule, so her character Det. Olivia Benson will be less prominent in the second half of next season, prompting the network and creator/executive producer Wolf to also look for a possible new female lead. …
With Chris Meloni out and Mariska Hargitay back part-time, Law & Order: SVU has locked co-star Ice-T full-time for next season. And the following one, if the veteran crime drama is renewed for a 14th season. Ice-T made the announcement on Twitter this morning. “I’ve just locked in my new SVU deal,” he wrote. “So I’ll officially be back for the next 2 years at least. DONE.” Meanwhile, the search continues for Meloni’s replacement. It is still in a wish-list stage, and I hear there is even a scenario where the new lead would be female, working alongside Hargitay’s Det. Olivia Benson. As for Jennifer Love Hewitt, who had been talked about as a potential new addition when Hargiay scales back her duties in the second half of the season, I hear that is not happening.
Jennifer Love Hewitt Eyed For New Female Lead Of ‘SVU’ As Mariska Hargitay Closes Deal To Return, Chris Meloni Not Done
EXCLUSIVE: Just in time for NBC’s upfront presentation on Monday, Law & Order:SVU star Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal to return to the crime drama for its upcoming 13th season, in which she will pass on the female lead baton to a new actress. I hear Jennifer Love Hewitt is being courted for the gig, though no formal offer has been made. Meanwhile, SVU‘s leading man Christopher Meloni still has no deal for next season.
Going into the contract negotiations, Hargitay had asked to scale back her workload on the show. The producers granted her request, and she will work fewer hours at her previous salary of about $385,000 an episode ($400,000 with backend and other payments included.) For the first 13 episodes, Hargitay’s character Olivia Benson will continue to solve sex crimes alongside her partner, presumably Elliot Stabler (Meloni), pending him closing his deal. Then Benson will be promoted to a supervisor position, with a new female detective taking her place. That is the role that the producers are eying Hewitt for.
While Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay is in the midst of negotiating her return for the upcoming 13th season of the show, she is suing talent agency WME over commissions for Seasons 11 and 12. The agency, which was created in mid-2009 by the merger of WMA and Endeavor, recently filed demand for arbitration to receive commissions for Hargitay’s services on those two seasons. In a lawsuit, filed today in New York and obtained by TMZ, Hargitay claims that the agency has no legal claim to that money. Hargitay became a client of WMA in 2002 and left in May 2009 for Paradigm, following her WMA agent Erwin More. (Hargitay is currently at CAA, where she signed recently.) In the complaint, the actress claims that the only representation agreement she had with WMA was for one year, and it expired in 2004.
WMA continued to represent her but, according to the suit, Hargitay terminated the agency in May 2009, shortly before its merger with Endeavor and “after WMA management refused to assist her in negotiating for those seasons (11 and 12).” “WMA bases its claims on the long-expired WMA agreement — to which it was no party, and which was never assigned to it — and a purported implied or oral contract which it contends arose between WMA and Ms. Hargitay,” the complaint says. There is a lot of money at stake: Under Hargitay’s contract for Seasons 11 …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Drama Series Actress race:
GLENN CLOSE, DAMAGES
Why She Got Nominated: If the TV Academy voters hadn’t nominated Glenn Close in this race, they might as well have called off the Emmys. She’s still the gold standard for actresses on TV. Her episode submitted for consideration, “Your Secrets Are Safe”, was the first of this past season and aired back in January. But that’s what screeners are for.
Why She Has To Win: This is Close’s 13th Emmy nomination. She’s won 3, including two in a row in this category. Close’s reputation precedes her: it’s tough to find anyone who can say anything even remotely negative about her. That goes a long way in contests of this sort. It also helps that she hasn’t lost a step in her performance. “Voting for Glenn Close, you never feel like you’re settling,” one actor says.
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: Three-peating is never easy. Things like professional jealousy come into play, as does increased competition. Close also has to fight the “been there, done that” vibe of the multiple winner. Lastly, the fact her ratings-challenged show could no longer cut it on FX and is now moving to DirecTV may hurt.
JULIANNA MARGULIES, THE GOOD WIFE
Why She Got Nominated: Margulies gave the most high-profile performance of any lead actress in a freshman drama, CBS pulled out all the stops publicity-wise for her and the show, and the TV Academy has a obvious soft spot for this actress as …