All it took was a single tweet counting up to 21 and the TV world was changed forever! In a video published on its social media pages, Wolf Entertainment announced that NBC has renewed “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for a record-breaking 21st season. The series becomes the longest-running primetime live-action series, surpassing previous record holders “Gunsmoke” (1955-75) and mothership “Law & Order” (1990-2010), each with 20 seasons under their belts.
In a statement, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment, said, “We tip our cap to Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay and the amazing cast and crew of ‘SVU,’ who now all go into the record book.” They added, “This incredible run is an example of what happens when producers, writers and actors all come together and create a show that, year after year, speaks to its audience in a powerful way. We couldn’t be more proud of this remarkable achievement.”
“As ‘SVU’ moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women,” said creator/executive producer Dick Wolf. “She is an enduring champion of the movement to end sexual violence, and dozens of episodes have dealt with the very same issues that have shifted into the spotlight in this country in the past two years. Mariska is a delight as #1 on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend.”
“I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today,” said Hargitay. “The longevity and continued success of ‘SVU’ is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers, but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them.”
The series, which stars Hargitay as Lt. Olivia Benson, chronicles the lives of the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, an elite squad of detectives who investigate crimes of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. Lt. Benson is now the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series.
The series also stars Ice T as Sgt. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, Kelli Giddish (“All My Children”) as Det. Amanda Rollins, Peter Scanavino as Det. Sonny Carisi and Philip Winchester as Asst. District Attorney Peter Stone.
Thus far in its 20th season, “Law & Order: SVU” has delivered a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.6 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” averages from Nielsen Media Research to win its Thursday 10 p.m. timeslot among the hour’s regular dramas in the key 18-49 demo. “SVU” also leads the time period in adults 25-54 and all key adult-female demos.
“SVU” is a highly time-shifted series, more than doubling this season in 18-49 rating when going from “live plus same day” to L+7 Nielsens, and adding more than 3.2 million viewers.
20 years ago, we started a conversation. We're not finished. I'm profoundly proud of how far we've come. Prouder still of how far we'll go.
We've all broken this ground together. #SVUSeason21 https://t.co/foJUUuNkQy
— Mariska Hargitay (@Mariska) March 29, 2019
I want to congratulate the cast and crew of @nbcsvu for making history today. Also to thank everyone for two great seasons. I have learned much and enjoyed being part of an elite unit. Here’s to you all and a historic run!
— Philip Winchester (@philipwinchestr) March 29, 2019
SVU has been OFFICIALLY picked up for season #21. Making us the longest running drama in Television History! Respect to the man Dick Wolf @NBCUniversal @Mariska @KelliGiddish @PeterScanavino @philipwinchestr and all my past and present Cast and Crew! And definetly ALL the fans! pic.twitter.com/vKX5u069ir
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) March 29, 2019
#SVU made it to a historic 21 seasons! We're not DUN DUN yet. pic.twitter.com/cxRJzLE7wa
— 𝐋𝐀𝐖 & 𝐎𝐑𝐃𝐄𝐑 (@lawandordertv) March 29, 2019