April 15, 2009 / 5:33 AM / 9 years ago

NBC renews "Law & Order: SVU"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC has renewed “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” but the two stars of the show, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, still have no deals to return.

Actors Christopher Meloni (L) and Mariska Hargitay from NBC's drama series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" arrive at the NBC Universal Experience as part of upfront week in New York May 12, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

After lengthy talks, the network has closed a pact with Wolf Films to bring the veteran crime drama back for an 11th season.

Its two lead actors, who usually negotiate their contracts together, started talks with the network only last week.

After a tough back-and-forth in 2007, Emmy winner Hargitay and Meloni inked rich two-year deals that brought their paychecks to about $350,000 an episode.

But the networks are trimming costs because of the recession and slipping primetime ratings, and with NBC in the forefront of the budget cuts, getting raises will be much more difficult this time around.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine “SVU” continuing without Hargitay and Meloni.

Crime procedurals have showed resilience after losing a lead actor — most recently with CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” subbing departing William Petersen with Laurence Fishburne — but it’s more difficult for an established show to survive the loss of both its female and male stars.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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