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Dick Wolf FBI Drama On Pause, ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Eyes New Love Interest For Benson

Deadline logo Deadline 1/19/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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At the summer 2016 TCA, NBC executive and Chicago franchise executive producer Dick Wolfrevealed plans for a new New York crime drama set in the world of the FBI. “It’s one of the greatest brands in the world,” Wolf said at the time. “Everyone knows what the FBI is.”

The project, which was to be introduced as a planted spinoff of Wolf’s current New York crime drama, Law & Order: SVU, has now been put on temporary hold. Part of the reason is the current situation, with the FBI making headlines over the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the alleged Russian hack, with FBI director James Comey, who had been a source in the research for the series, himself coming under investigation.

“Things are changing within the FBI, I would say that that spinoff has taken a back seat and the Menendez Brothers has been accelerated, so we are more focused on that,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke told Deadline, adding that she and Wolf are expected to revisit the FBI drama idea in about five months.

The Menendez brothers limited series, which will be branded with the Law & Order moniker, has been rising fast at NBC, with production eyed to begin this spring for a potential fall launch.

Still, NBC and Wolf are expected to go ahead with adding an FBI character to SVU this season. “We probably are going to plant a character who is going to be a love interest for Mariska who could or could not be part of a spinoff if we end up doing it,” Salke said.

As for the future of the venerable SVU, which is marking its 400th episode, directed by star Mariska Hargitay, “we are happy how the show is doing,” Salke said. “We don’t see a reason why SVU would go anywhere.”

Would Hargitay stay with the drama? “I think she loves the show, she loves to be Benson, to be that protector of women, she loves her foundation. It’s not a job for her anymore, it’s a calling.”

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