Is ‘Law & Order: SVU’ season 16, episode 17 new tonight? Casting news!

The latest -Let’s start this particular “Law & Order: SVU” story with the sad news: There is no new episode airing on NBC Wednesday night. As a matter of fact, there isn’t one next week, or the week after, either. Why the long wait? There are many reasons we could give you, including that there are only 24 episodes in a season and you have to plug in repeats somewhere.

Probably the best answer that we can give you, though, is that this is a strategic decision on the network’s part to ensure that it does not have to air against any more new episodes of “Empire.” That show has been drawing above a 5.0 lately in the 18-49 demographic, and it is almost a ratings vacuum Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. If you can avoid that competition, it’s better for you. Given that “Empire” ends on March 18, the logical return date for “SVU” will be March 25. This is not confirmed, but we know for sure that there are no new episodes until this date. The silver lining here is that you’re going to see the final eight episodes of the season without much interruption as a result.

Now that we’ve given you a schedule update, how about some casting news? According to a report from TVLine, “Numb3rs” alum Rob Morrow is going to guest-star on the upcoming April 1 episode as Skip Peterson, a newsmagazine host whose own zeal for reporting the story of a campus gang rape, through his own tone and style, ends up making it so much harder for Benson and the squad to do their job.

In a statement, showrunner Warren Leight had the following to say:

“Rob gives a charismatic portrayal of a reporter whose biases and ambitions trump his need to get the story right.”

If you want to get some other news on everything we cover at CarterMatt right now, be sure to head over to the link here, and sign up for our official newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!