Outside of The Simpsons, one almost never hears about a scripted TV show lasting for 20 full seasons, but it's an entertainment milestone that NBC will soon be celebrating with Law & Order: SVU. And while there may have been a point in recent years when star Mariska Hargitay might have been willing to call it quits, the actress now sounds more enthused than ever to keep bringing Olivia Benson to audiences for years to come. In Hargitay's words:
So while there have been some worries among fans in recent years that Law & Order: SVU might be turning in its badge at some point, let it be known that Mariska Hargitay won't be trying to convince NBC to pull the plug. The star appears to have hit a second (or third or fourth) wind within the franchise's most successful spinoff, and the creative energy that current showrunner Michael Chernuchin brought to the show has apparently got her reinvested in keeping Olivia Benson's struggles and successes going for a while longer. At least six more years, by her count. And considering they're finding ways to keep Fin around, despite his promotion, I think it's clear the SVU team s confident about sticking around on NBC until they're forced out.
Mariska Hargitay offered up some refreshingly frank thoughts, however brief, in speaking about the more recent past seasons. It appears Season 18 wasn't her favorite, which probably had to do with the one-and-done boss that year. Warren Leight served as Law & Order: SVU's showrunner from Season 13 through Season 17, having previously tackled showrunning duties on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Rick Eid took over the reins for Season 18 before passing those on to Michael Chernuchin. And while SVU suffered from some of the same ratings woes that hit shows all across primetime TV, the crime drama has been largely consistent with both its central viewership and its demo ratings, despite the casting changes, and the creative team has had a lot of wild real-world headlines to choose from in bringing its cases-of-the-week together.
Speaking with THR, Mariska Hargitay shared why she was so impressed with and enthused by Michael Chernuchin's presence for Season 19.
For what it's worth, Chernuchin somewhat recently said his goal is to get SVU to 21 seasons in order to break the primetime drama record set by Gunsmoke all those years ago. But he should probably boost his optimism quite a bit if he wants to keep up with Mariska Hargitay.
When Law & Order: SVU returns to NBC this fall, it will be airing on Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET, instead of in its previous Wednesday night slot. While waiting to see more from Benson & Co., head to our summer premiere schedule.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.