Big news in TV land today, as NBC reveal that long standing cast member, Chris Meloni – who plays Elliot Stabler on Law and Order: SVU has decided not to come back for another season. The news comes off the back of the reduced contract taken on by co-star Mariska Hargitay. Rumour has it that Meloni was offered a contract yet he still turned it down – so it looks like he already set his mind on leaving.

I’m a big fan of the Law and Order franchise, especially the mother show, which was cancelled last year to make way for the awful spin off – Law and Order: LA. That has also recently been cancelled, so it is impossible not to think about SVU’s chances of renewal in the 2012/2013 line up after practically losing the shows stars. Rumoured to replace Mariska (after her character Olivia Benson is promoted) is actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. And since the news broke about Meloni, its been revealed that NBC are looking for a huge star to replace him, and bring the viewers in. I can’t help thinking to myself, that any actor or actress would be insane to do it. The show would need a miracle to survive another series, and any person who decides to take the roles is pretty much destined to fail no matter who they are.

Remember Dani Beck? Played by Connie Neilson? She replaced Hargitay when she was on maternity leave. Now she’s not exactly an inexperienced actress, starring in blockbusters like Gladiator and the Devils Advocate. Yet she pretty much bombed. Not because she didn’t do a good job, but because we all hated Dani Beck – because she wasn’t Olivia Benson. Those Mariska shaped shoes were pretty impossible to fill. And I am in no doubt that whoever replaces Chris will have a similar fate.

The way things stand, it looks to be the end of an era, the end of a franchise and the end of Law and Order: SVU.

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