As Fox and CBS continue to be boring juggernauts and ABC is just flaky and incomprehensible, it’s good to still have (for now) NBC making the most simple, unaffected mistakes. Like announcing that Chris Meloni, star of Law & Order: SVU, was a lock to return for another season, only to have him turn around and reject their contract offer. Several sources, including the one I linked to just now, are reporting that Meloni won’t be back next season and that Dick Wolf is already looking for a replacement – this after Mariska Hargitay already announced she’d only be in about half the episodes.
Of course, continuing a series with different actors is something Dick Wolf knows all about, but SVU isn’t a regular Law & Order show – which is one reason it’s still on the air when the original L&O is not. The show depends heavily on the two leads, and their apparent inability to investigate a case unless they have some kind of personal emotional attachment to it. Besides, Wolf no longer has the power he used to, either at Hollywood or within NBC (which treated his original show pretty shabbily toward the end), and might not be able to pull off the kind of casting coup that would keep the show going; if the best he can do for the female lead is Jennifer Love Hewitt, what’s he going to get for the male lead? Maybe the Muppets, but they’re rather busy this summer.