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Law & Order: SVU Scoop: Hargitay Inks New Deal, Jennifer Love Hewitt May Succeed Her

Just in time for NBC’s upfront presentation on Monday, Law & Order:SVU star Mariska Hargitay has closed a new deal to return for its upcoming 13th season — but there’s a catch.

Around midseason, Hargitay’s Olivia Benson will pass the baton on to a new female detective — possibly played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. 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, reducing her hours but keeping her salary roughly the same at $385,000 an episode. For the first 13 episodes, Hargitay’s character will continue to solve sex crimes alongside Elliot Stabler, pending Meloni 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 producers are eying for Hewitt, who, ironically, guest-starred on SVU last fall as a rape victim.

As for Meloni, whose current salary is the same as Hargitay’s, I hear the actor is seeking a raise. Talks with NBC, however, are moving slowly, so it doesn’t look like he will have a deal before NBC’s upfront. The last time Hargitay and Meloni’s contracts were up two years ago they didn’t sign new pacts until the end of June.

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233 Comments
  1. Not Impressed says:

    Ted McGinley is slated to replace Meloni….

    SVU has JUMPED THE SHARK.

  2. Gary says:

    This article doesn’t say she is leaving the show. The character is promoted and she will be on less. She will become a supporting character.

  3. Danny says:

    Looks like a lot of unhappy haters remarking on this news. Jennifer Love Hewitt is a good actress, and I’d be willing to give it a shot with her.

    • Nuala says:

      I don’t care who is partnered with Chris. Bottom line I have absolutely no interest in watching the show without him. I am very interested to see what sort of work he does when he leaves SVU as he has demonstrated a very good range already. I would be happy for him to leave now but I think that the Stabler character (and Chris) deserved a good exit story.

  4. Kimmie says:

    I think Taraji Henson would make a better detective then JLH. I hope Bensons gets promoted to Captain, so we’ll be able to see her every episode just not as much as we’re use to. I saw this coming a mile away when she became the mother of a new baby. I’m glad for Mariska, but I’m sure as hell going to miss Detective Benson.

    • HGFM says:

      Benson can’t be promoted to Captain. She would have to go pass the Sergent’s exam first and then the Lieutenant’s exam and then have the NYPD need another Captain. But I don’t see her as qualified to be in any supervisory position. It wouldn’t make any sense. She has no talent for leading.

      • nygma619 says:

        No talent for leading? Obviously your basing this on hatred for either Mariska or her character. Cause you sure as hell aren’t basing this on logic.

        • HGFM says:

          Cragen has never put Olivia in charge of anything. She has never had any sort of leadership role. She can barely work as part of a team anymore let alone take charge of one. She doesn’t have the intelligence or wisdom to think things through. And she can’t handle people disagreeing with her. Putting her in leadership role is a disaster waiting to happen.

  5. matt says:

    i love jlove so i could get behind that decision. i’d be sad to see benson’s role cut back a bit, but as long as we still get here i won’t be complaining.

    and speaking of complaining, people realize that svu has brought back an actor from a perp role to a recurring role, right? remember novak? she was a female rapist before she came on in a different role as ada casey novak. it’s not unprecedented and worked out well.

    • Sarah says:

      The whole franchise is notorious for doing this. They’ve probably cast a dozen actors as series regulars who guested as a different character on one show or another first (or, if you count Conviction, a regular on a different show). It’s like they “test” their actors with guest roles rather than auditions.

  6. tj says:

    No, Benson and Stabler…..NO SVU!!….. seriously Jennifer Love-Hewit???I would think the writers would replace both characters: Find another pair “with chemistry. I could see Katie Sackoff(spelling) actually doing this role. But if NBC wants to crash and burn SVU……let JLH come aboard. If they (NBC) does not take the time it will be just like LA:LO…yikes

  7. Michael says:

    Wow, what’s with no love for J Love? She was fantastic as the victim and I’m sure she can take on a cop role.

  8. mel says:

    if hewitt is the new det they have to find some way to make her the same character as she was on her guest spot cause fans wont forget she was vicki

  9. HGFM says:

    Anything that gets Mariska off the screen is a good thing. They should have broken up the Benson and Stabler partnership back in Season 8 when she was out on maternity leave.
    But Jennifer Love Hewitt is a terrible choice for a new detective. She was not good in Behave. SVU does not need another actress who thinks overemoting is good acting. And she is unlikely to be inexpensive. New York has plenty of decent actresses who haven’t made a name for themselves yet. Hire one of them and use the money to give us more of the supporting players who have been missing this year.

    • Alex says:

      ^This. You took the words out of my mouth, HGFM!

    • nygma619 says:

      Hewitt was fine in Behave. You want over emoting, watch Brenda Blethyn.

      And what if the nobody looking to make a name for them self flops? This is a show in its double digit seasons, giving someone who is unknown a lead role is just as bad an idea.

      Also Mariska was doing fine till now.

      • HGFM says:

        Brenda Blethyn was just as bad as Hewitt. So was Rita Wilson in the last episode. SVU has gotten away from having good actresses playing their parts believably. Good acting is never about blasting emotion to show what the character is feeling.
        The same thing applies to Mariska. She has spent too much screen time over the past several seasons over-emoting to the nth degree. They need to rein her in again.

  10. Charlotte says:

    I watch SVU for those two. Without them I won’t watch. But I also cannot stand JLH, and might not watch even if they’re still there, and she’s on. She is beyond annoying.

  11. Cece says:

    I cannot see JLH as an SVU detective. Bring in Elizabeth Mitchell! V’s gone now and she can definitely carry the role.

  12. Anon says:

    That person who signs HGMH is sick. She has a pathological hatred Mariska. Benson SVU without me there I’m saying goodbye

  13. ALBN says:

    Mariska Hargitay Olivia Benson and her is unforgettable. You can not think of SVU without her.

  14. Danielle H. says:

    This is very upsetting news. I love Benson and Stabler together. But, the show does filter them in and out in capacity some, so I don’t think this means the end of Benson by any means. It’s probably just a back half ratings sweep thingy (trying to be optimistic here). Reread the article guys, cause if you’re like me you were prolly in shock the first time. The wording makes it seem better after reading it the second time through. Hopefully fan outcry makes Hargitay rethink though. We love you girl!

  15. CurryFan says:

    Nothing against shows replacing actors. Even if it is as silly as one episode to the next (although they should try to avoid that). Life happens. People change. Change is good. Many times these actor changes have worked with other shows. That said, JLH is not the right actress for an SVU detective role. I have seen almost all of her work and this is simply not within her range. Playing the rape victim was. Playing Mariska’s role? Never in amilion years. She will tank very badly. Go Chris! Get as much money as you can!!!

  16. Audrey A says:

    I will absolutely stop watching if Hewitt is on the show. I can’t stand her. Almost anyone would be a better choice. Someone said Katee Sackhoff and she would awesome on SVU.

  17. Katie says:

    So I have been watching this show since 2000, saw a lame ending a mile away. This will lead to viewers escaping no matter the replacement. Time to move on. If you aren’t watching Castle you should, trust me you won’t be disappointed it is also a great replacement. Also no more rape and incest is rather refreshing. I won’t watch SVU no matter how they do it, they can’t be true to Olivia’s character and have her leave victims. As she said “it is in my blood.”

  18. K says:

    I’m okay with either Stabler or Benson leaving, although I would not be happy about it, as that kind of is one of the markers of an L&O show. Jennifer Love Hewitt being a possible replacement, however, would not be okay. I just don’t associate her with this kind of show, and I think that if Dick Wolf is seriously in talks with JLH, I might seriously have another hour free every week.

  19. emma says:

    they both should stay .

  20. E says:

    No SVU without Mariska Hargitay or Chris Meloni worst idea getting ever she better stay

  21. Larc says:

    Meloni is the weak link in this show. Cut him loose and replace him with somebody who can play a character with some intelligence.

  22. Alex says:

    Hopefully this will be a good restart for SVU.

  23. MGL says:

    Whether good or bad, the show has been on so long now that Benson and Stabler are the show. It never feels right when they are not on scene together. And, sorry, but Jennifer Love Hewitt is not an acceptable replacement. The show should end at 13 episodes. It was a good run (thou they should have been together).

  24. Amber says:

    That is very sad news sbout Mariska Hargitay. I’m also having anxiety attacks they might be killing off the captain now, knowing that Hargitay will be a supervisor.
    And the news about Jennifer Love Hewitt….No. Just no.

  25. Neixannd says:

    This is just the beginning of the end; without Mariska and Chris in no SVU… Another good show which will be cancel next season.. What a shame .. 1st Criminal Intent and now this.. what is going on in the networks?

  26. David says:

    As with every show it has to learn to evolve. The Law and Order franchise is actually in jeopardy of not being around anymore with the cancellation of LOLA and CI being in it’s final season (at least probably because it’s been bringing in decent ratings and creatively seems to be as good as ever). I think that with the entire franchise being around for over 20 years now the others shows adapted well but SVU hasn’t had to so it’s in a unique situation where people are more attached to the characters. But if you remember when Anthony Anderson was brought into the original Law and Order there were a lot of people that didn’t think he was right for it and the combination of Lupo and Bernard ended up being one of the better ones in the show so if this happens Jennifer Love Hewitt should be given a chance. You never know how it will end up turning out and it may not even happen. But with Meloni and Hargitay being on for so long we all knew at some point they would have to move on sometime.

  27. olivia says:

    JMC I AGREE WITH YOU AND MARISKA DOING 13 EPISODES IS GOOD AND SINCE SHE IS A NEW MON SHE WANTS TO WORK LESS AND OLIVIA BEING ELLIOT’S BOSS IS KINDA HOT THAT WOULD ALSO PAVE THE WAY ELLIOT AND OLIVIA TO MAYBE BE TOGETHER AND I WOULD LIKE THAT TO HAPPEN-IF MARISKA’S CHARECTER DOES GET PROMOTED ONE SHE WOULD BEYOND DESERVE IT TWO PAIR ELLIOT ON CASSE’S WITH MUNCH AND FIN NOT TO MENTION I THINK MUNCH IS CLOSE TO RETIRMENT AGE! CHRISTOPHER HASNT SIGNED IS CONTRACT YET BUT WE WILL HAVE TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS AND PRAYING JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT DOESNT END UP ON LAW AND ORDER SVU! EVEN IF OLIVIA DID GET PROMOTED SHE WOULD STILL WORK SOME CASE’S WITH ELLIOT! PS MELONI ISNT GREEDY A HOT AND SUCCSEEFULL SHOW MEAN’S A RAISE IT GOES FOR GREY’S ANATOMY AS WELL!

  28. SVUCrazy says:

    I don’t think Mariska Hargitay is leaving the show. I think that she is just not going to be on there as much as they will make Olivia a supervisor of somesort. They wouldn’t just get rid of her completely otherwise the show would have to end.

  29. Matt says:

    It’s strange that I had started watching the pilot of Ghost Whisperer last night for fun and I was wondering when Jennifer Love Hewitt would be back on TV. Guess I have my potential answer. She’s likable enough, so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Then again, I don’t watch the show so I don’t really know what I’m talking about…

  30. Jenn says:

    Who in their infinate wisdom at NBC thought Jennifer Love Hewitt would be a great “replacement” for Mariska??? That person should be fired and checked for a serious mental condition! SVU has and always will be about Benson & Stabler. I’d rather see the show end than see someone who really isn’t qualified take the baton. I really hope all those involved rethink their decision!

  31. Jaivomi says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Jennifer Love Hewitt – in fact she’s not just a good actress, she’s a great actress. But that’s the exact reason why it can’t be her. Her guest spot was way too memorable. They marketed it so highly because it was all in promotion of the campaign Mariska was backing. Therefore, they can’t suddenly turn round, literally months after her ep, and say ‘Oh she’s a new detective joining the squad’. I’m sorry but there is not following continuality and then there is insulting the viewers. What they did with Diane Neal is NOT the same. She was about 5 leagues below of Hewitt in terms of fame, and there was a gap of about 4 seasons. No one would have instantly recognised her as the rapist from all that time ago. But I can remember JLH’s role pretty much scene for scene – and it’s not helped by the fact she did it so well. I’m not saying she couldn’t do it (although when I look at her she doesn’t scream ‘cop’) but she shouldn’t do it. I’d rather they replaced Mariska with someone less known so they could instantly fall into the role.

    More than anything though, if next season is going to work at all – they need to replace the ADA. We need someone who is full time. This ‘new ADA every ep’ thing is not working. If they were smart, they’d try to secure someone who was most likely to keep us watching, and that would be Diane Neal again or Stephanie March. They are familiar, and with so many changes, they need that. Although please make it Casey… it’s not been the same without her!

    Your taking a risk though NBC. Although I suppose they can’t help it if Mariska Hargitay doesn’t want to have such a big role any more. You are totally screwed if Chris won’t sign on.

  32. Jaivomi says:

    Oh and give Munch a lot more screen time… He’s the best thing about SVU and he is sorely underused. Remember season 1, back when SVU was funny? …Sigh.

  33. T says:

    I SEE DEAD SHOW!!! Just like L&O:LA

  34. LOOKitsaMONKEY says:

    How could a rape victim work as a detective? I mean sure they can change her character, but still, her she is more VICTIM material. AND its Detectives Benson and Stabler, I don’t want it any other way.

  35. Geo says:

    I imagine the twitter of Mariska must be crammed with messages. This woman is so beloved, not only for his talent but also by the great figure she is. I’m sure Mariska must be suffering with that decision. She loves this show and if she’s going to be very strong reasons. We will respect your decision. I think she will only appear in 13 episodes. It will be hard to stay without seeing every week, pretty woman, the mistress of the universe more beautiful smile and black eyes fascinating. Olivia Benson’s tough, but at the same time tender and compassionate. Competent professional, knew how to use their physical attributes .Olívia Benson will go down in television history. I am writing this text perqueno crying. Because if there is one actress that I admire is called Mariska Hargitay. His dedication to the role, the passion that she gave the character moved me. And she did this work more than their livelihood. She made ​​it a mission. How many abused women have not helped Mariska? My heart is torn. I will live only on memories. Mariska my heroine, forever.

  36. Bobbo says:

    You people bitching about Ms. Hewitt not being a realistic choice to play a police officer really make me laugh. THE ENTIRE SHOW is unrealistic. Ask any cop. Cops don’t act, talk or think the way that these characters do. Not to mention that in real life, they would have been rotated out of the unit a long time ago to avoid burnout. Most real SVU detectives don’t last more than a couple of years due to the emotional toll that the job takes on them. This show jumped the shark a long time ago. Same recycled crap every few episodes. You want a real cop show, watch SouthLAnd.

  37. Evan says:

    I love Mariska, a beautiful and talented actress. SVU without her will never be the same. I am not comforted.

  38. Sarah says:

    If they replace Mariska with Jennifer Love Hewitt, this show is not only done but will have it’s reputation ruined retroactively. NBC has almost killed their entire line-up for next year – this would truly be their death knoll.

  39. floor says:

    SVU SIN MARISKA??????? ACASO PERDIERON LA CABEZA, DESDE YA LES DIGO QUE EL RAITING DECAERA TERRIBLEMENTE, YO POR MI PARTE NO LO MIRARIA

    • CurryFan says:

      A lo mejor debes aprender un poco más de Inglés antes de comentar. El artículo dice que el tiempo de Mariska se reducirá, es decir, pasará menos tiempo en pantalla. No dice que se va por completo de la serie. FOR THE ENGLISH SPEAKERS (just because I think it’s impolite to carry on a convo in a different language when most of the readers don’t speak that language): The poster I’m responding to seems to think Mariska is off the show and I clarified that she’s not leaving, only taking a reduced schedule.

  40. Alyssa says:

    I think Olivia and Elliot make the show. SOmeone else doing her part would be so different, in a bad way. I’ve been watching the show since season one, and every repeat that comes on, and without Olivia its going to be hard to watch the show. It must be a lot to film an hour show, but like someone said do three shows, then one off.

    • CurryFan says:

      A lo mejor debes aprender un poco más de Inglés antes de comentar. El artículo dice que el tiempo de Mariska se reducirá, es decir, pasará menos tiempo en pantalla. No dice que se va por completo de la serie. FOR THE ENGLISH SPEAKERS (just because I think it’s impolite to carry on a convo in a different language when most of the readers don’t speak that language): The poster I’m responding to seems to think Mariska is off the show and I clarified that she’s not leaving, only taking a reduced schedule.

    • CurryFan says:

      Sorry, I meant to reply to the post in Spanish above your post. I wish we could edit/delete in this format!!!

  41. Ashley says:

    There is no way Jennifer Love Hewitt could replace Mariska. I don’t think anyone would buy her as a tough as nails SVU detective. Mariska is an incredible actress and overall woman and I don’t believe SVU could survive without Benson and Stabler as a team. They are the only reason I watch the show. Nobody could ever replace Olivia Benson. She is a trademark character and always will be. Not to mention the fact that anybody other than Liv being paired with Elliot would definitely tank the shows’ ratings. I am a dedicated SVU fan (some may even say obsessed) and I would rather see the show end after the first 13 episodes of next season than see Olivia and Elliot split up. I am also a HUGE Mariska fan and as much as I may not like her desicion, I completely support it. She has devoted so much of her life to SVU and if she wants to spend more time with her family, she should. No matter what she does with her career, I will always look up to her as my role model and support her in anything she decides to do.

  42. Gary says:

    I realize their not spring chickens anymore, but NBC needs to find a way to keep them part of the show. Hargitay and Meloni are the ONLY reason we watch the show. I’m hoping they give the Captain role to Hargitay, and have Meloni with a new female partner. NBC got the hottie part right with Love-Hewitt, but c’mon will anyone really accept her in a serious role? I won’t believe her being an a** kicker.

    I don’t blame Meloni one bit for holding out for a raise. He’s earned it! NBC had better pony up, or they may as well fold the show.

    For God’s sake find a new ADA already. Either bring back Novak, or find someone PERMANENT. The revolving door is ANNOYING! I’m no Sharon Stone fan, but she did a great job. Any thoughts of bringing her back?

    Please retire Munch and Fin. I especially like Munch, but c’mon, he looks like he’s 100 years old. Fin chasing down 20 year old perps is totally unbelievable.

  43. Kristi says:

    Mariska and Chris are great! The show will not be the same if one or both of them aren’t there. Even if Mariska as Olivia is a supervisor it will take the life out of the show. Once Mariska and Chris are no longer on SVU, we will no longer watch it. We look forward to watching it every week. Even the reruns are good! There are not many good shows on anymore–sad to think SVU will be one that exits. We love it! Its an awesome show.

  44. Lois says:

    Everybody is jumping the gun here. NBC President Bob Greenblatt tells Michael Ausiello that Hewitt is being considered but nothing is firm. He also says that the idea to promote Olivia is still something they’re considering, but that they are still working on ideas for next season. Read Ausiello’s interview with him.

  45. Mandy says:

    Jennifer Love Hewitt? Really? First of all, she has already played a victim on the show. Secondly, she is not that good.
    I think there is potential for the show to carry on after the stars are ready to be done, but they need talent. I suggest bringing in a no name talent. Someone who reminds us of Jennifer Garner on Alias or Anna Torv on Fringe.

  46. Maya says:

    If they replace Hargitay, especially with Love-Hewitt, I will NEVER watch the show again. Benson and Stabler are the show! I’ve watched it for years! I am soooooooo upset!

  47. Brittany says:

    Really, Jennifer Love Hewitt! I have been watching SVU since it premiered in 99! I can’t see anyone else but Mariska in that role! The chemistry she shares with Chris you can’t replace it!I know that I wont even be able to watch it! I don’t think NBC realize how big the fan base is of that show! I am all for Mariska shorter her work load, because I am know being a mom and working is a lot But NBC the writers and the producers better think of something else, because that happens then I don’t think there will even be negotiated for a season 14!

  48. anony says:

    JLH would be a very, very bad choice.

  49. Meat says:

    I agree. It should be Munch next for the promotion. The only thing is that he was put in charge during one episode and he hated it. I think this show is done for anyway, put a fork in it.

  50. Jessica says:

    I understand that Mariska wants to work less with having her new kid and everthing but i think they should have just made this the last season, bc i am pretty sure she knew she didnt really want to do another season and NBC knows as soon as she gives up here lead role the show will be hitting it’s last season! so lets just try to enjoy the 1st 13 episodes and hope chris signs a contract.

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