An upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU will be ripped from one of Fox News’ most embarrassing headlines ever.
TVLine has learned exclusively that the NBC procedural is developing an episode loosely inspired by the sexual harassment scandal that pitted ex-Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson against the network’s CEO Roger Ailes, a kerfuffle that ultimately forced Ailes to step down. Carlson, who alleged that Ailes fired her after she refused his sexual advances, ended up walking away with a $20 million settlement.
The SVU episode, titled “The Newsroom” and slated to go into production next month, centers on a character by the name of Howard Coyle, who is described as the “uber-powerful, brash, bullying, controlling, obnoxious, inappropriate” head of a major news network whose past is about to catch up with him. The other key players in the installment are 40-ish “Heidi,” one of the network’s lead anchors who carries with her a dark and devastating secret; 20-ish “Margery,” an opportunistic up-and-coming anchor at the network who will do anything to advance her career; and 50-ish “George,” a seasoned talking head at the net who’s grumpy, cranky and well-versed on what goes on in the newsroom.
An SVU rep declined to comment for this story, beyond reminding us that “SVU is fiction.”
The news comes as the fate of another ripped-from-the-headlines SVU episode — this one featuring a storyline with strong parallels to President Donald Trump — hangs in the balance. The episode was originally slated to be broadcast as the current season’s second installment. It was pushed back to October because of internal concerns over its content, and then delayed to after the election. Following the election, it was postponed a third time.
“I don’t know when it’s going to air,” executive producer Dick Wolf told reporters earlier this month at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “I suspect it will be this spring, but I don’t know.”