Exclusive

SVU Boss Optimistic That Meloni and Hargitay (and The Show!) Will Return For Season 13

Any rumors of Law & Order: SVU‘s imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sources close to the situation confirm to TVLine that NBC has already begun preliminary renewal talks with series leads Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni (whose respective contracts expire at the end of the season), while departing showrunner Neal Baer tells us he’s optimistic the pair will be back.

The TVLine Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Axed? What’s on the Bubble?

“They’re as committed to playing Olivia and Elliot as they were the first day I walked in and saw them in the interrogation room,” Baer says when asked if he believes the duo will return for another season. “It’s an amazing thing that never lags. [Mariska and Chris] are so professional and the ultimate artists in that they’re there to realize their characters, making them as strong, believable and compelling as possible. And there aren’t a lot of opportunities to do that [in television].

“They’re the longest running drama duo in TV history,” Baer continues, “and I think [they’ll be around] as long as they can keep playing new angles within the parameters of the show.”

Before NBC can officially renew the series itself, the network needs to be certain its cast is on board — but Baer has every reason to believe SVU will return for a 13th season.  (Mind you, this TV vet has been through the pickup waiting game a time or two.) “I would say that chances [of renewal] are very good, given that it’s the highest-rated drama on NBC,” he offers.

Law & Order: SVU‘s Ratings Surge

Baer points out that SVU “did really well last week, beating two first-runs on competing networks” — CBS’ Blue Bloods and ABC’s Off The Map. “That shows that there’s huge interest. It’s a real phenomenon if you think about it. Our researchers at NBC tell us we have 53 million unique viewers on average a week, across all platforms — that would [include] USA, syndication off-network and originals. So one-out-of-six people is watching the show still… in year 12! That’s so gratifying.”

Although “nothing is certain until the network decides,” Baer says “all of the stars are in line” for NBC to renew the sex-crimes procedural. “The show is in a really wonderful place creatively, storytelling-wise and ratings-wise, which a really nice way to leave it. When I left ER in year seven, I felt the same way. Of course, ER lasted eight more years, so I hope SVU will last eight more years, too.”

Debra Messing Visits Law & Order: SVU

Another indicator that NBC intends to renew the series comes in the form of the search for Baer’s successor, which is underway now with his help. And while this season’s finale will mark Baer’s last with SVU, don’t expect some sort of sappy sendoff at episode’s end. “I don’t have plans to write some farewell show,” he laughs. “It will just be a really good, twisty, turny and hopefully memorable episode.”

Aren’t they all?

Coming soon to TVLine.com: Even more SVU news, including the juicy scoop on an Elliot/Olivia jaw-dropper!

How are you feeling about this SVU update? Are you hoping NBC renews the drama for a 13th season? And, worst case, would you still watch without Benson and Stabler? Let us know in the comments.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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67 Comments
  1. Cheeks says:

    I love Stabler & Benson and would love to say that I wouldn’t watch without them; however I don’t know if that is the case. If they found two other actors with as much chemistry and talent, maybe I would. I just hope that I don’t have to make that decision anytime soon!

  2. Samantha says:

    I will not watch SVU with both of them.. The make the show what it is..

  3. Susan says:

    Wonderful news- I live in perpetual hope that my favorite crime-fighting duo will contine.Bless you!

  4. Scarlett says:

    Happy to hear SVU may live to see another day(season)

  5. Alex says:

    I really wish they would get rid of Benson and Stabler. They irritate the hell out of me and they’re making SVU unwatchable. I would love to be able to watch again, though, and I would if they brought someone new in.

    • Bob Smith says:

      Nobody loves you.

    • anthony 13 yrs old says:

      shut the f*** up law and order is a great tv show benson and stabler are great partners to put a gun up your dumb ass

    • Auj says:

      I hope that SVU continues! I’m only 13 but it’s my favorite show! NBC PLEASE RENEW LAW AND ORDER SVU! I can speak for kids younger than myself as well. * In my opinion* Mariska is a great role model for girls and Chris is a great role model for boys! Please bring Alex Cabot back!

    • Julie strohecker says:

      With out Elliot. Or Oliver the show might as will go off the air they are the. Best team on TV no matter what show

    • You have got to be kidding me says:

      Are you for real. I can tell you don’t really like tv drama. Hey did you know on pbs they have shows you might like. its called barney you idiot. Stabler and benson make the show. dummy

  6. Lamont Cranston says:

    WOW , SVU beat Blue Bloods and Off the Map in the ratings last week . Color me SHOCKED !! That’s hardly competition to brag about . How did the show do against Criminal Minds ? Not Very Good , that’s how . Next week it will go up against the new Criminal Minds spin off . Then we’ll see how SVU holds up . No doubt that the show will get renewed as long as the deals can get worked out .

    • Green says:

      If Criminal Minds is still pulling 8-10 million viewers a week in it’s 12th season, maybe then it can be compared. And as the person below pointed out, it has a better timeslot.

  7. Joe Jackson says:

    Last new CM pulled a 3.2. Last new SVU pulled a 3.0. But they do not air at the same time and 9:00 hour does better than the 10:00 hour across the board no mater what show is on

  8. Sassbo says:

    I arrange to NEVER miss a Wednesday epi, and every marathon that comes on…..would I watch without Benson and Stabler? I wouldn’t even want to put that to the test, but my first reaction is a big NO!

    • rachel says:

      I watch all the law and orders every day. No matter how many times they are on. And as a woman that has been raped. I did not get justice. Watching the show has made me stronger. I wish It would have been Benson and Stalber who answered my door. I know its just tv but trust me when i say they are getting the story lines right.

  9. dee123 says:

    What other dramas does NBC really have? SVU isn’t going anywhere.

  10. Bubba Sparxx says:

    THE HATERS CAN HATE. I love SVU for many reasons, including what impact it’s had on millions of viewers and the actors themselves. Mariska Hargitay is a wonderful woman who has helped tons of women through The Joyful Heart Foundation; how many TV actors/actresses have done something like that? Honestly, not that many. Anyway, SVU rocks! I’m so happy that it’s staying for another season.

  11. i will watch it again if there is a romantic connection between the two LOL

  12. nicole says:

    I can’t imagine this show without Mariska and Chris. This is one of the best shows in history. I hope they keep SVU running for years to come. I think there will be millions of disappointed people out there if it ends.

  13. Mae says:

    I like the show very much, you can drop some of the profanity, other than that, the team of SVU is very pleasant to watch. You don’t divide a team. I have watch the marathons over and over again.
    They just great as a team.

  14. Jill says:

    They should wait and see how it does against the new Criminal Minds next week before renewing it. Either that or they should move it to a different night.

  15. Jamie says:

    I care about Tiva (Tony & Ziva) from “NCIS” and it’s recent renewal WAY more than I care about Olliot or E/O (OLivia and elLIOT) on “SVU” – I wish Hargitay and Meloni would depart, even if it’s for half a season – Richard Belzer and Ice-T are the ‘Gods’! I want “SVU” on as long as the Mother ship but if the stories keep revolving around the two main characters, E/O; freak (more vulgar word, also means ‘sexual intercourse’) “SVU”!

  16. Sharlene Wilson says:

    Who’s Neal Baer?!?

    • Char. says:

      The dumb SOB that show runs SVU. He has say on how most the episodes go down (and they have gone down).

      I hope SVU gets canceled. NBC needs to bring back the mothership then. I like LOLA more (never thought I’d say that).

      I AM GLAD Neal Baer is leaving SVU. For the last 5-6 years he made the show go into the “TV ditches” anyway, especially last year!

  17. Rick says:

    I used to love SVU! Neal Baer is to blame for SVU’s downfall these last 5 seasons. I knew SVU was going down when the season 8 premiere kicked off, the story wasn’t a strong story at all! Last night’s episode SUCKED MAJORLY (I feel bad for the fans of CI, the writer, Chris Brancato is the show runner for that show… dead). I wish NBC would cancel the show… and they should cancel LOLA too, but esp. SVU! I hope Neal Baer’s CBS medical drama sucks and nobody watches!

    If we even get a smack of Elliot/Olivia in the season finale I’m DONE with SVU, and I’m not playing! I might be a hater, but I know good television. And SVU USED to be good television! Neal Baer can go kiss a cockroach; I think that’s where he and the SVU writers are getting ideas from!

  18. James says:

    I want to point out how Neal Baer on Twitter (@NealBaer) comes to the aid of his regular EO fans but he doesn’t pay much attention to the dedicated fans who like the show for what it used to be. It used to follow the style of law and order, just working with the special victims unit instead of homicide. Plus SVU’s guest stars have been “lax” as well. I like Meloni and Hargitay, but I think I’d like SVU better canceled and “in the history books”. BRING BACK the original “LAW & ORDER” NBC! I know my SVU, and it’s not like the episode I saw last night!

  19. BT says:

    People still watch SVU? Hmm. I thought the show was canceled anyway due to Baer’s departure (which is ’cause for celebration’)!

  20. Nicole says:

    I really wish this show would go bye with Neal Baer. It’s long overdue to be cancelled. And Baer is going to keep pushing his EO agenda on everyone. He needs to go now.

  21. Mort C. says:

    A lot of people are giving Neal Baer hell about SVU!

    http://revivingtrialbyjury.blogspot.com/2011/02/will-law-order-svu-return-for-season-13.html

    From the critics to the bloggers! I hope SVU gets canceled too! NO EO for ME!

  22. Lindseyo says:

    So, has anyone else noticed that Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni have shared the screen only a handful of times so far this season? Even when they’re in scenes together most seem to be filmed as over the shoulder shot-reverse shot dialogues that look like they are working opposite body doubles. For example, there was that weird scene in this episode tonight (2/16/11) where Staebler’s live via giant t.v. in the precinct, and Benson is filmed straight on “talking” to him. It was really strange. All season they’ve been trading the starring role rather than sharing it. In the first 3 or so episodes one would be out of town, or away giving expert testimony…I have a theory that they are feuding…OR, did Mariska have another baby and they had to film around her pregnacy? She was wearing oversized, body-hiding, boxy collared shirts at the beginning of this season, and is already back to looking fit. I’m just sayin’…something smells fishy in the Editing department of NBC. Thoughts or insight?

    • Butterfly says:

      Totally feeling you on this one. I, too, have been wondering just what has been going on with Benson and Stabler’s absenteeism. Makes me wonder if Meloni and Hargitay are getting sick of one another, if they are getting too close for comfort on-screen for their real-life significant others, or if NBC just wanted to throw in some variety. Regardless, as a fan of SVU’s original formula – Benson/Stabler and Munch/Fin – I’m getting a little sick of the Benson/Fin combo. While I think the 4 do well together, to pair the latter 2 together over and over in this season seems like a case of feuding and laziness. Also, where the hell is Munch?! Is Belzer being wrote out of the show because he has fewer and fewer lines as time goes by?!

  23. SM says:

    Why haven’t Benson and Stabler been in the same websites as of late? Have you noticed that one of the two have been “away” the last few weeks. What’s going on?!

  24. kaili glazier says:

    I for one love law and order svu! I love all the crazy episodes the thrill i get from watching each episode..always sitting in suspense!! I fell in love with both Benson and Stabler.. never get enough of them, just wish they would bring on more chemistry! I do hope for another season after 12.. and i really dont think i would watch the show anymore without mariska and chris. I would like to see the writing to be more crazy fun has a dry taste to it.. but overall its exciting to watch these detectives come together as a seem and crack the case!

  25. Ronald Roscoe says:

    I love watching SVU…but the one thing that has caught my attention is that Stabler was in Quantico ….thats for the FBI…what to say hes not headed to Criminal Minds…that would really stink if he did…He and Benson make a good team…but i must say i think Stabler would do good in Criminal Minds…i think thats just what they need right now to bring up there ratings…Benson and Finn would do fine as a team…But either way i would still watch SVU..

  26. Clara says:

    I love law and order svu and I love Benson and Stabler, they make the show and I hope it will come back for a 13 season and that both of them come back. If one or both leave then I will not watch it anymore. They make the show. I hope they finally put them together. I agree that the show is not very good this season because they always have one or the other away and not working the cases together that much anymore. The producer needs to listen to the fans.

  27. kimberly Givens says:

    Dude olivia and Elliot make the show what it is get a grip I love Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay they are the best two actors on this planet. The show would’t have lasted as long as it has with out them. You don’t like them that’s your problem so don’t watch it the rest of us love Olivia and Elliot they have enough fans that love them and the show that they wouldn’t miss you not watching it.

  28. Nadine Halliday says:

    Law and Order SVU, fantastic show, never boring, never gets old, they have tons of new areas they can go into, would hate to see either of the two main actors leave, they have so much ‘unfinished’ business, great chemistry. Really like all the other actors in it to, they mesh as a unit. Bring on season 13!!

  29. George says:

    Law and Order:SVU is truely an outstanding show. To the best of my knowledge, the wife and I have not missed an episode. We are delighted to see that it will be renewed. I believe it owes its success to the entire cast, writing and story lines. My only suggestion would be to find just one ADA and stop the constant new ADA’s at the rate of 2 or 3 per season. I think the best one was the ADA who supposedly got killed but was sheltered by the FEDS. If I remember correctly she returned the following season. Can’t remember her name but she had long bloned hair, glasses, had a heart and would work with SVU. This has not been the case with more recent ADA’s. A while back we had the one who had a problem with the bottle. At present we have the red head who wouldn’t give her mother a break. As I said we are delighted to see SVU returning. If only they could iron out the ADA rotating door issue. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  30. Joy says:

    I hope it does come back. I love watching Christopher Meloni on the show. I’m geting a little tired of how everything seems to be pushing Hargitay to the front of the show this year instead of Meloni. She seems to be taking over the lead detective spark. I do think they need to bring back some of the spark. Get rid of Kathy. Have Stabler free. He was much more complex back then. Plus bring Munch back more. The best old shows were the ones with the tension between the two. Oh, and forget shows about wild animals. That just didn’t fit into the ‘special victims’ category for me.

  31. Marie says:

    Don’t get rid of Kathy. Can’t we have some committed couples who are faithful to each other? on TV.

  32. Marie says:

    My 1st message couldn’t have been a “duplicate detected”, because it was the 1st time I’ve ever posted on this site.

  33. Avaldo says:

    ALL YOU HATERS CAN JUST STOP WATCHING. If you want it to be cancelled, then don’t watch or have anything to do with the show. Many people want a season 13 ( including me!!! ) and no one wants to hear you guys complain about it.

  34. Angela says:

    I enjoy the series very much. I will not intend to watch it if Mariska, and Chris are no longer on the show.

    Mariska herself, and her character has helped me to deal with my own demons after being raped several times in my life. Both as a child and adult.

    At times. I truly wish I could meet her and let her know that she is someone I admire.

    Sometimes I wish I had the courage to contact the Joyful Heart Foundation to help me.

    Maybe some day…

    Thank You Mariska for all you do!!

  35. bigbird says:

    SVU IS THE BEST PLEASE PLEASE BRING ON SEASON 13

  36. abby says:

    i would not continue watching without them on the show

  37. Sierra Combies says:

    Mariska Hargitay is my role model. I think her and Chris are amazing and make the show. I have seen every single episode and I would NOT watch the show if either one of them were to leave.

  38. Sierra Combies says:

    Oh… And I think that Elliot should divorce Kathy and that is the last straw for them. Then Elliot and Olivia get together:)
    perfect.

  39. Suicuneisme says:

    If Chris and Mariska was to leave…yea we still have Munch and Ice T but it would suck. The episodes where Mariska left I didn’t watch. Can’t say Munch and Tutuola wouldn’t b a loss. Ice is funny wit his black sarcasm and Munch? Funny sarcastic Jewish guy wit more conspiracy theories than the internet? Where r they gonna find that? But Chris and Mariska would b the biggest loss. If they leave not only would I NEVER watch SVU again I would catapult my T.V. And cablebox off my roof…after running thru the street naked and setting NBC on fire…

  40. CJ says:

    Love SVU but wouldn’t be the same without Mariska and Chris playing Benson and Stabler. Please keep this show on. There are so few great shows left on television.

  41. Jazmin says:

    I love love love this show and I can honestly I would not be able to watch it without Olivia and Elliot and personally they make the show along with fin,munch, and cragen and the Ada but I hope to see more law and order in the future

  42. manda says:

    love svu with both of them on it i never really got into any of the law and order shows and theres alot, until i watched svu and i fell in love with it. so i wouldnt watch it if someone was replaced or neither one was on it, they are wat make the show the show! if there not renewed or another season well…peace law and order.

  43. Missy says:

    I hope they will be back. I wouldn’t watch it if Chris Meloni wasn’t on it. The way the preview looks for the season finale (?)it looks like my favorite TV detective might be in an ‘iffy’ situation which could mean he won’t be back. Oh I hate the waiting! Look at what happened with Law and Order – it didn’t get a proper send-off after 20 years on TV! (I miss Lupo.) Here’s hoping when the Fall TV season starts next year Benson AND Stabler will be on SVU and NBC will stop playing with the day of the week that the show comes on!

  44. carol larkin says:

    I have watched SVU from the beginning and it is The Best Show On TV!!!! Olivia and Elliot are the best duo Ever!!!! Mariska and Chris Are Amazing Together And Have Amazing Chemistry!!!! I Would Not Watch SVU With AnyOne Else As Leads!!!! SVU is my favorite show !!!! I Im Sure SVu Will Be Back For Season 13!!!! Oliva And Elliot SVU Forever!!!!!!!!

  45. NAVYGURL77 says:

    I’ve been watching this show since it first aired. To be honest, if you take Olivia and Elliot’s charcters out, I will stop watching… They make such a great team and do serve as great role models. I was very upset when they cut Alex’s role out!!! I almost stopped watching, but i will admit, Olivia and Elliot make the show. PLEASE GO ANOTHER ROUND!! HAVE THE NEXT GENERATION WATCH THIS SHOW AS WELL!!

  46. sandra luciano-andujar says:

    SVU is the best Law and Order sequal ever because Benson and Stabler are REAL, you can relate, they are great actors for TV. Meloni is the tough cop with a soft spot for kids, handsome and so darn protective with Maritza when she is in danger; Maritza is a “kick” ass cop but very feminine and darn SMART. I would not see SVU without Benson and Stabler, they have made that show and the writing is superb. After 12 yrs.., I still rush home to see SVU. Keep it up!

  47. Alicia says:

    If they was to leave I will not watch it ever again I stay home on Wednesday just to see I will be very hurt.

  48. Porsche says:

    I love Benson and Stabler, they are my favoriate detectives, I wouldn’t watch the show if it wasn’t for them. But if they get new actors to play them I wouldn’t watch it because Olivia and Elliot make the show.

  49. Aisha Hassan says:

    I love Law and Order SVU , ever since I watched it since I was 8 years old and now Im almost 17 years old. Im amazed about it , how they play there charater so well , and make it real . My whole family know watches it every wednesday for new episode 10pm or 9pm and on saturday at 10pm its our very favourite show to watch . Yes , theres laughter sometimes , I would cry for those episodes , last episode on season 12 smkoed one of the best episode ever . I dont know that much enghlish back in the day but watching the show helped me allot , Olivia is the Girl I watch every day and Elliot too . Best Actors since 1999 , they should win an aweard for that , Congrats and hope your life is fantasing . One thing I want to do before I die is to see where they shoot the episodes , and see the characters or be part of one of there episodes in season 13 that would be my Lifeeee . hope they air season 13 becuase what show would I watch every day , ntohing that good on t.v , even if they are older people they should still continue for me and all those people that watch it , LAW AND ORDER SVU BEST SHOW EVERR ! If you missed out the epiosdes watch it online or if you never heard of it I would literally SLAAAAPP YOUUU ! This show changed my life completly , watching what could happen to your kids or yourself , how you could help people with the issue youve been , how to protect kids for rapeist , kidnappers ,and murders . Ive learned allot from this show and it inspired me to become a person that does sexual assaults cases or be a person to tell parenst how you can help this not happen to you . Thats all I got to say , OHH ANND DICK WOLF MY FAVOURITE DIRECTOR EVEERRR ! GOOD JOB TO THE ACTORS , PEOPLE WHO HELPED THEM , AND THE PRODUCERS , AND DIRECTORS ! CONGRATURATIOONS ! HOPE THE SHOW AIRS SEASON 13 !

  50. kayleigh says:

    I wont watch it without Elliot and Olivia. They’re the main reason that most people watch this series. They are perfect for the role they play, and have been for the past 12 years. If they were to quit or anythinglike that then I wouldnt watch it anymore, even if Fin, munch, Cragen and all the others were still here.

    I’m glad that they’re hopefully renewing the contracts.
    I hope they stay! :D