A new Law & Order spinoff centered on hate crimes will likely not air on NBC, and instead, find a home on the NBC Universal streaming platform Peacock. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight suggested the "vocabulary" used in the hate crime stories would not be appropriate for network television, so rather than try to fit broadcasting standards, streaming will be the way to go. The project was first announced in September 2018 but has been on hold.
NBC put in a 13-episode order for Law & Order: Hate Crimes back in September 2018, with plans to introduce the new characters in an SVU Season 20 episode. Six months later, NBC put the project on hold, and the network said they needed to get the show "right" instead of rushing to meet an "artificial deadline." Speculation that Hate Crimes would end up on Peacock instead of NBC began earlier this year when Law & Order creator Dick Wolf signed a massive new overall deal with NBC that included renewing SVU for three more seasons. The agreement also consists of a spinoff starring Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler.
Leight has been working on Hate Crimes and told The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast NBC found the show to "be a better fit" for Peacock. "The vocabulary people use when they commit hate crimes is not acceptable on network television, and that's an interesting consideration," he said. Leight later added that Hate Crimes "needs to be made," especially in light of current events. "Where it dovetails with SVU, it's about the toll a hate crime takes on a victim, a victim's family, and a community," Leight explained, reports TVLine. "It's an arena I think needs to be written about. I'd like to see this show go [forward]."
The Stabler series is taking priority over the Hate Crimes show, though, as there are plans to include Stabler in the upcoming SVU Season 22 premiere. "I think once the [Chris] Meloni show became possible, that took priority... I think that show goes first," Leight said. The executive producer said there are "a lot of balls in motion" on Wolf's plate.
If Hate Crimes comes to fruition, it would be the seventh Law & Order series and first new spinoff since the short-lived True Crimes aired in 2017. The original Law & Order ran 20 seasons from 1990 to 2010. The other spinoffs include Criminal Intent (2001-2011), Trial By Jury (2005-2006) and Law & Order: LA (2010-2011). There was also a U.K. version, which aired from 2009 to 2014. SVU has been on air since 1999 and is now the longest-running primetime drama in U.S. TV history.