Monday, June 29, 2009

Official: Meloni/Hargitay back for 2 years at SVU

And now it's official:

"Law & Order: SVU" will be returning in the fall with its two stars.

After lengthy negotiations, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have inked new deals to continue on the crime procedural, which is coming back for an 11th season in the fall.

Additionally, Emmy winner Christine Lahti has signed on to play the ADA on the veteran series for the first four episodes. Stephanie March will then return, reprising her role as ADA Alexandra Cabot.

Sources said Hargitay and Meloni, who regularly negotiate their contracts together, have inked one-year deals with an option for a second year.

And, despite the congloms and particularly NBC Universal being in a cost-cutting mode, both Hargitay and Meloni are said to have received salary increases to their most recent paychecks of about $385,000 an episode.

Hargitay and Meloni's deals come a month after NBC closed a deal with Wolf Films for the renewal of "Law & Order: SVU."

At the time, NBC brass said that the show will return with or without its stars as the networks and reps for the actors had been embroiled in intense negotiations.

But, while crime procedurals are more resilient than character dramas in replacing leads, losing both Hargitay and Meloni, considered the heart of the show, would've been a big hit to "SVU."

Hargitay is repped by Paradigm. Meloni is repped by Gersh.

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