Why The Law And Order: SVU Spinoff Is Now On Hold, According To NBC


When it comes to TV spinoffs, few working producers are more knowledgable than NBC stalwart Dick Wolf, who had last year put into development a new show spinoff within the Law & Order franchise, meant to branch off from the long-running SVU, which itself shows no signs of ending soon. But the project, which would use the FBI as its law enforcement of choice, is currently being put on hold, and according to NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke, it's because things are a little too heated surrounding the real life source material. In her words:

Things are changing within the FBI, I would say that that spinoff has taken a back seat and the Menendez Brothers has been accelerated, so we are more focused on that.

Not a lot of facts had come out about the Law & Order: SVU spinoff, beyond its FBI ties and its setting of New York City, and I suppose that's best, considering it means nobody has anything to be disappointed about. Beyond the project's delay, of course. It hasn't been shelved forever, though, since Dick Wolf and his creative team probably put enough effort into it by this point to dissuade a complete scrapping. Jennifer Salke says they will return to the concept in five months or so to talk about picking it back up.

No one should give this reasoning a double take of disbelief, as society's increasing awareness is making it harder for TV networks and studios to take on traditional genres and occupations. Last year's election battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton put the FBI in the public spotlight over multiple issues, including Clinton's emails and the allegations over Russian hackers playing a part in the election process. FBI chief James Comey was under investigation himself, thanks to his role in researching data for the other points. It wouldn't be impossible to slap an FBI drama together that purposefully distanced itself from real-life incidents, but authenticity always helps, and if there's nothing wrong with waiting, go for it.

How much faith do Jennifer Salke and Dick Wolf have in the future of their proposed Law & Order FBI series? Enough that they're likely going to plant one big seed for Benson on SVU that could sprout into a new series. Here's how she explained it in her talk with Deadline.

We probably are going to plant a character who is going to be a love interest for Mariska who could or could not be part of a spinoff if we end up doing it.

Dick Wolf was also developing another show about the FBI, though not within any of his current franchises, as it would be an unscripted series for USA with actual FBI consultants. (He's also presumably planning three more Chicago dramas and another Cold Justice spinoff.) And while it's a bummer that hit particular project is getting put on the back burner, at least that Menendez Brothers spinoff should have smooth sailing.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET, only on NBC. To see when other shows will be hitting the small screen soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.