Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the longest-running primetime drama in television history, is about to get way longer. NBC announced a historic five-year contract extension for Dick Wolf, the producer behind the Law & Order franchise and the Chicago shows, on Thursday and part of the deal includes a three-season renewal for SVU. The show, starring Mariska Hargitay, is now in its 21st season.
The renewal means SVU will be on air through the 2022-2023 season. All three Chicago shows — Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med — were renewed for three seasons as well. NBC said the deal includes "multiple series commitments."
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter is "the largest deal in TV history." The deal could include the long-gestating Law & Order: Hate Crimes spin-off (which could land on the Peacock streaming platform) and another L&O series. However, there is no new Chicago spin-offs planned. The deal also does not cover Wolf's FBI and FBI: Most Wanted, which air on CBS.
"I'm gratified and excited that Universal will remain our home for five more years," Wolf said in a statement. "This new term deal complements our recently concluded agreement to make Peacock one of the primary destinations for both the L&O and Chicago brands, as well as our extraordinary three-year NBC broadcast pickups on all four current series. We are now supercharged to expand our business on new platforms, both domestically and internationally, while continuing to produce our current and future series for broadcasting and streaming networks."
"Dick Wolf has proven time and time again that he makes shows audiences love," Paul Telegdy, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, said. "We are delighted, excited and proud that as part of this epic deal with Wolf Entertainment, NBC's loyal audience will know that their favorite shows have a certain future for the next three years."
The new deal with Wolf follows the prolific producer's decision to sell streaming rights for three Law & Order shows and the Chicago shows to NBCUniversal's Peacock steaming platform. That deal was reportedly worth between $300 million to $400 million. Sources told THR Thursday the two deals could be worth a combined $1 billion.
Although SVU is now in its 21st season, the show is still one of the most-watched shows on television now. The show averages a 1.5 18-49 rating and 6.5 million live viewers. Add in delayed viewing, and the show is averaging 11.1 million viewers and a 3.9 18-49 rating.0comments
New episodes of SVU air Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: NBC