We know we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but we still want to talk about a Law & Order: SVU season 20 … even though there’s no season 19 yet.
Think about where we are right now in terms of the show’s longevity. It’s somehow defied the odds already and made it to a season 18, which is rarified air that few other shows achieve. While it’s not the #1 show on NBC, it’s tied with Chicago PD right now as the #3 drama on the network in adults 18-49. It’s a syndication monster, it has fans all over the world, and it’s bigger than a show at this point — thanks to the work of Mariska Hargitay and others offscreen, it’s now a movement and a cause to stop domestic violence in both the United States and beyond.
Obviously, television is a business, and the cause alone isn’t going to get the show renewed. It still does help, and that’s why when you consider all variables, we’re calling on NBC to make a bigger move than usual before upfronts and renew the show through season 20. Give your longest-running drama on the air at the moment a chance to match the original series in terms of seasons. As of right now, it is the fourth-longest scripted primetime TV series ever, and the third when it comes to drama. The only dramas running longer in terms of seasons / episodes are Gunsmoke and the original show. (The Simpsons is the longest-running primetime scripted show overall, and it’d take a long time, plus the Fox series ending, for SVU to catch it.)
Do we see there being a reason for NBC to not give the show a two-season renewal? Not really. While live ratings may be down around 14% in the demo this season, that’s small compared to many other network shows out there. Also, NBC is a network still trying to find itself in the drama space beyond This Is Us and the Dick Wolf catalog of shows. It does them some good to have some solid players who deliver good performances week in and week out. We know that the writers will likely have no issue delivering on more relevant, powerful stories.
We do concede that the odds of a two-season renewal this week are fairly unlikely; we’ll just settle for one. There’s no real reason to worry about cancellation; the focus of this article instead is to spark some celebration early for what would be a milestone year of the show. Maybe SVU goes beyond season 20, but that’s a discussion for down the road.
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Meanwhile, be sure to head over here to get some further news when it comes to tonight’s new episode. (Photo: NBC.)