Warren Leight is returning to the Law & Order franchise as executive producer and showrunner of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Leight is finalizing a deal to succeed Neal Baer, who, after 11 year at the helm of SVU, is leaving the crime drama at the end of the season to segue into a rich three-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. With an experienced showrunner like Leight in place, NBC and Dick Wolf have solved one of the two issues SVU faces in its quest for a 13th season. The other is re-signing stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni, whose deals are up at the end of the season. The two have just started talks with the network, with the pace of the negotiations expected to pick up during the next couple of weeks.
Law & Order executive producer/showrunner Neal Baer is making his novel writing debut with a series of 3 books. The novels, which Baer is writing with SVU co-executive producer Jonathan Greene, have been sold to Kensington. The medical thriller books, the first of which is titled Kill Switch, are set in the world of forensic psychiatry, an area previously explored by Silence of the Lambs, among others. They are slated to be published in January of 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The series centers on Claire Waters, a young forensic psychiatrist. Baer, a pediatrician by trade, had had some training in psychiatry and, during his tenure on SVU, he has talked to many forensic psychiatrists. “I became interested in the science behind what makes a criminal mind. Claire is driven to understand the scientific explanation of why people would commit a crime,” he said. The books stem from a feature outline Baer and Greene wrote 8 years ago. Now, they’re planning to go full circle, eying a feature adaptation for the novels. The duo’s agency Paradigm is taking out to film producers a synopsis for the first book and the part of it that has been completed.
Baer is wrapping his final season at the helm of SVU before transitioning to an overall deal at CBS TV Studios in June.
After 16 years at NBC – 5 on ER and 11 on Law & Order: SVU – Neal Baer is heading to CBS. In a competitive situation, Baer has signed a three-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios. The pact, said to be in the high-seven figures, includes development as well as showrunner services. It starts on June 2, a day after Baer’s contract on SVU expires. Baer has been the executive producer/showrunner on SVU since the series’ second season. With him departing and the deals of stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni up at the end of this season, the future of the veteran NBC crime drama is in limbo.