law and order svu benson

TV spinoffs rarely get to outperform their predecessors, but there's nothing average or commonplace about Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which is currently heading into a wildly impressive Season 19. And when that new batch of episodes gets here, the hit drama will bring back a franchise vet in former Law & Order showrunner Michael Chernuchin, who is taking over showrunning duties for SVU's foreseeable future. No worries about super-producer Dick Wolf having any problems with "the new guy" in this case.

This particular change-up is only the latest to affect not just Law & Order SVU, but other entries in Dick Wolf's multi-franchise universe on NBC. Michael Chernuchin is stepping in to replace the one-year-and-done Rick Eid, who is moving on to take over Chicago P.D., which itself lost its usual showrunner Matt Olmstead when he flipped to ABC Studios. Chernuchin himself just came off of showrunner duties for that other spinoff Chicago Justice, which received a most surprising cancellation from NBC earlier this week. (And if you want to go back just a year, Eid had replaced longtime SVU showrunner Warren Leight.)

One of the best ways to fill an important position is to look for candidates who have surefire experience, and Michael Chernuchin has that to spare. He has been a part of the Law & Order universe since its very beginnings, having signed on as a writer and producer during Season 1 back in 1991. He plugged away through promotions until he became the showrunner of that flagship drama, exiting after Season 6 and returning for Season 13. He was also part of the spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and wrote and produced for other shows like Black Sails and Rogue.

Below you'll find Michael Chernuchin's own announcement of the great news.

Law & Order: SVU, which was supposed to get its own spinoff last year, is currently on the way to becoming the longest running scripted drama in TV history, potentially surpassing not only its Law & Order predecessor but also the current record older, Gunsmoke. (The Simpsons is also gunning for Gunsmoke's records.) One easy way to make that happen is to get Chris Meloni back to the drama for some more sex, drugs and death metal investigations. Maybe Chernuchin knows a guy.

At this point, we're not quite sure when Law & Order: SVU will make its big return to NBC for Season 19, but you know it's coming this fall, presumably in September. In the meantime, head to our summer TV schedule to see everything that's hitting the small screen in the coming months.

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