NBC Renew/Cancel Week 7: Law & Order: SVU Will Not Be a Victim of Cancellation

On last week's NBC Renew/Cancel, we broke down the returns of the high-rated Chicago lineup. This week, it's the other all-Dick Wolf lineup on NBC's schedule: Law & Order Thursdays. Keep reading to see what the outlook is for Dick Wolf's venerable law enforcement franchise.

Certain Cancellation:

Likely Cancellation:

Leans Cancellation:

Leans Renewal:
Law & Order: Organized Crime (0.46)
Quantum Leap (0.29, 0.25-0.32)

Likely Renewal:
Chicago Med (0.59, 0.56-0.62)
Extended Family (0.36, 0.23-0.71)
Law & Order (0.48)
Night Court (0.38, 0.33-0.46)

Certain Renewal:
Chicago Fire (0.60, 0.56-0.63)
Chicago PD (0.55, 0.53-0.57)
Law & Order: SVU (0.62)
Saturday Night Live (0.77, 0.60-0.96)

Already Canceled/Final Season:
La Brea
Magnum PI

Already Renewed:
The Irrational

Coming Soon: 
Lopez vs Lopez

Law & Order: The newest (sort of) member in the lineup, NBC's Law & Order revival has done fine business at 8 PM, rarely posting standout ratings but consistently giving NBC a solid hour of programming. It pales in comparison to the leadoff show of Dick Wolf's other NBC lineup, but that's okay: it's still stronger than every other non-Wolf drama on NBC, and NBC can't just take that for granted. Even in the event that NBC would want to scale back on Dick Wolf programming, it's unlikely this would be the one they cancel. For starters, it wouldn't make a ton of sense to cancel the show so soon after they revived it, especially since it's done well in the ratings. Revivals are canceled quickly sometimes, but usually because they either flamed out or never drew much interest to start. Law & Order has been mostly consistent, with higher ratings earlier in the season followed by lower ratings as time goes on and rebounds the next season. In addition, in NBC's initial fall schedule, made before the strikes, Law & Order was on it - but Organized Crime was not. They claimed that this was due to storyline issue that would limit Organized Crime to thirteen episodes this season, but nevertheless, its absence from the fall schedule indicates that NBC probably prioritizes Law & Order over it. Law & Order is not infallible, but it's looking like a LIKELY RENEWAL.

Law & Order: Organized Crime: As stated above,  Organized Crime was Dick Wolf's only show left off the initial schedule, and it's also a show that's been known to have some behind-the-scenes tumult. The show has cycled through show runners in its four-season run, and that may have worked against it. A show that is difficult for NBC to produce - particularly one that is typical a year-round occupant of their schedule - may find itself falling out of favor simply because it's a headache for them. That doesn't mean it's doomed, but if they need to cancel a show that's probably pretty expensive, this is a clear option for them. Also working against it is that it returned with some of its weakest retention from SVU yet. On finale night, Organized Crime got a 0.41 behind a 0.44 for SVU, and while its retention wasn't always that strong, it was usually better than the 74% retention it had last week, when it got a 0.46 behind a 62. It's obviously expected for a 10 PM show to drop from its lead in - even 10 PM smash hit Chicago PD does - but I worry that OC is simply a time slot hit, living off its compatible, hit lead-in. This may mean its streaming performance isn't all that impressive, and this is data we don't have access to. It's also not a show that is syndicated, and its serialized nature means it probably never will be, reducing a revenue steam. There's just less going for this show than either of the other Law & Orders, and I think its time will run out sooner rather than later. I'm not convinced that that's this season, as it still does just fine for a 10 PM show, but it only LEANS RENEWAL.

Law & Order: SVU: The longest-running and highest-rated of the L&O trio, SVU also returned last week. It nearly matched Chicago Fire's 0.63 and became the second-highest-rated scripted program of the season thus far as it begins a milestone twenty-fifth season. While the show is no doubt expensive - we've seen plenty of cast departures in recents seasons that are indicative of budget cuts - it's still an immensely popular and valuable series for NBC. Last week, I discussed the syndication deals of the Chicago franchise, and while Chicago PD is making a name for itself in syndication, it pales in comparison to SVU, which is also a massive force internationally and on streaming. With all this in mind, SVU is likely NBC's post profitable show, even with the high production costs. Between that and its status as an iconic show that's a vital part of the NBC lineup, it's in no danger of cancellation. Whenever the time comes for it to end, it will certainly be announced it advance, and likely due to either Dick Wolf or star Mariska Hargitay deciding that it's time. In other words: This show remains more-or-less invincible. It's a CERTAIN RENEWAL.

What do you think of my predictions? What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments and vote in the poll of the week!

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