While Law & Order: SVU season 21 renewal isn’t here yet, there’s hope

SVU season 20 artEarlier today, NBC made a fairly-glorious announcement in renewing all three of their One Chicago shows for an additional season! It’s a real achievement to everything that those shows have done, and also the sheer wizardry of Dick Wolf for continuing to build universes that so many people can get behind.

Now, of course, we do have to go back to another Dick Wolf show in Law & Order: SVU that certainly has a big audience of its own, one that is eagerly awaiting that news of a record-breaking 21st season. We don’t want to make it just about the record, even if it is a wonderful achievement that is a testament to the entire cast and crew’s hard work. It represents an opportunity to see more powerful and important cases, ones that are a reflection of society and ones that help to remind us of some of the real heroes who are out there within the TV world.

So why didn’t we get the renewal today alongside many of the other Dick Wolf-produced shows? Typically, SVU is treated as more of its own thing; while the Chicago shows have been renewed together at the same time, we don’t always see Olivia Benson and company looped in the same way. There are also so many other things that need to be worked out when you get into renewal discussions for a show like SVU. For starters, you have to make sure that the cast is on board, the financials are worked out, and that you’ve got a plan for how many episodes you want to do. (Hopefully, still 24, but you never want to count your chickens before they hatch!)

There are also the current ratings from this season to consider, which are somewhat of a mixed bag. The bad news is that SVU is down considerably in live viewers and the 18-49 demographic from season 19 — one of the largest drops for it we’ve seen in our many years covering ratings. With that said, there’s a clear explanation — this is a show that moved from prime Wednesday real estate in season 19 to a Thursday-night timeslot at 10:00 p.m. Eastern that has long been a challenge for NBC. It hasn’t had all that great of a lead-in for most of season 20, more viewers are going to be bed early, and there may be a higher percentage of DVR viewers with that in mind. Add to all of this the natural live-viewer decline that tends to happen every year, and there are a number of clear reasons why the ratings are what they are.

Will SVU be renewed?

Almost certainly. It’s so hard to imagine NBC not wanting to deliver more of this show at a time in which it is so thoroughly needed. Even with the lower ratings, it is still fiercely competitive in its timeslot and is a cultural institution. There’s no real reason to consider why the network would willingly want to shut things down. Patience will be required here, though — NBC still has more than two months to finalize things.

Want to preview the next SVU episode?

Then be sure to head over to the link here for more scoop on when the show’s returning, plus some of what you can expect. (Photo: NBC.)

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