Hargitay and Meloni sign with SVU

svu1Finally an outcome…. actors Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have finalised negotiations with to return to Law & Order: SVU for its 11th season.

Thank goodness for that. It just wouldn’t have been the same without Olivia and Elliot.

The two actors had been with a mexican standoff with producers for a pay hike, and it had been dragging on for weeks. NBC even called their bluff by renewing the procedural, with or without the two on board.

The Hollywood Reporter indicates both have inked one-year deals with an option for a second year.

Despite studio cost-cutting, Hargitay and Meloni are said to have boosted their most recent salaries of about $385,000 an episode. In a rare feat for performers, they have been able to negotiate a piece of SVU‘s lucrative back end, sources said.

If their income tops more than $400,000 an episode, it would leave Mariska Hargitay as the highest-paid woman in television and Meloni as one of the top male earners.

Hargitay and Meloni are reported to regularly negotiate their contracts together -an old actors’ trick. Even as far back as The Beverly Hillbillies actors were showing a united front in studio negotiations. The trick is to hope nobody buckles independently.

Meanwhille actress Christine Lahti has signed on to play the assistant district attorney on the series for the first four episodes.

Source: Hollywood Reporter


  1. As SVU appears to be going from strength to strength, i’ve actually paid less attention to the show and have paid more attention to the original Law & Order instead.

    Would have been interesting if the contract situation didn’t get resolved, in saying that… i would have loved it if Richard Belzer and Ice T were elevated to be the main stars 😛

  2. mikeys, yes its alot of money but you have to consider that very few actors in popular shows can then break out of their ‘typecast’ once that show has finished and get regular gigs elsewhere so they need to be paid well to compensate for that. Great to see two fine actors return to a fine show.

  3. i dont think it really matters to NBCU how it rates here, but it has to rate go-enough here because if it doesn’t channel 10 won’t buy it, and NBCU makes alot of money from selling their programs overseas and if they carnt sell it overseas they wont renew it unless it really rates well in the US.

  4. Darryn, what it rates here has a bare minimal impact on NBCU. It rares well over in the US, (really well for NBC), and that network and studio are what pays the vast majority of their paycheck. What channel 10 pay for an episode is probably about 10 seconds worth of an advertisement on NBC.

  5. @Ryan thanks for that.
    yes you are right SVU is seen on NBC before anywhere else.
    CI is seen on USA Network before it it shown on NBC, SVU is also repeated on USA Network and other cable networks.

  6. Nice money if you can get it… Frankly, at that price they should be sacrificing half their pay and doing something selfless with it (for all I know they already do!)…

  7. If SVU wanted to start a revolving door cast like the Mothership, it should of done so during the earlier seasons, say 4 or 5. Viewers have emotionally invested themselves in the series now to point where if both CM and MH left, the fan base would collapse.

    I also wonder if SVU could operate like CI, alternating detective teams between episodes. It may come to that if the actors keep demanding more cash.

  8. If they can get them for a final season that’s good, but the SVU show can
    easily still work with 2 new, much cheaper lead actors that NBC can lock in for a 6 season contract and this will probably occur next year.

  9. @ Shane SVU isn’t aired anywhere before its aired on NBC, SVU is NBC First Run – Criminal Intent is aired on another network first, I thought it was USA.

  10. @Judith, im with you they are SVU.
    Very happy that NBC pick this show up again because this is one of the highest rating shows on their channel even when it is now shown on cable(on TNT) before its on NBC later in the year.

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