It’s that time of year again when networks make the difficult decisions about which shows will be renewed and which will be cancelled. Some shows have already gotten bad news, but NBC just delivered some very good news for fans of four big series. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit will carry on into Season 20, and all three Chicago shows scored renewals as well. It’s a good time to be a fan of Dick Wolf shows on NBC!
Law and Order: SVU has reinvented itself somewhat in the second half of Season 19 following the departure of Raul Esparza as A.D.A. Rafael Barba and the arrival of Philip Winchester as replacement A.D.A. Peter Stone. The sexually based offenses are as heinous as ever and the dedicated detectives work as hard as ever, so there was no sign that SVU has been running out of steam. NBC is clearly satisfied with how SVU has performed, and SVU executive producer Michael Chernuchin should be happy. Chernuchin suggested earlier this year that the show last at least 21 seasons to beat Law and Order‘s record of 20 seasons. According to EW, SVU has averaged 8.9 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the valuable 18-49 demographic in Season 19.
None of the other Dick Wolf shows to score renewals have been on the air nearly as long as Law and Order: SVU, but they’ve been doing pretty well for themselves. Chicago Fire is the oldest of the three Chicago-based shows, and the renewal will bring it back for Season 7. Chicago P.D. is the second-oldest and will be back for Season 6. Chicago Med is currently airing Season 3, and the renewal means fans will see it last at least into Season 4.
Interestingly, the viewership is highest for the newest of the Chicago shows. Chicago Med averages 10.7 million viewers, whereas Chicago P.D. averages 10.5 million viewers and Chicago Fire averages 10.1 million viewers. The demographic ratings rank the shows slightly differently. Chicago P.D. has the highest rating with a 2.3 average in the 18-49 demographic. Chicago Med comes in second with a 2.2 rating, and Chicago Fire brings up the rear with a 2.1 rating. The three shows all deliver similar numbers, and the close ties between the characters and the plots mean that it’s not especially surprising that NBC ordered new seasons for them all. Who knows? Maybe the next TV season will bring Olivia Benson to Chicago for another crossover. We’ll have to wait and see.