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Samantha: Debra Messing and Mariska Hargitay are my favorite celeb BFFs. Now that they’re both detectives on NBC, will they get some screen time together?
I don’t want to burst any bubbles, but…maaaaybe. Messing plays Detective Laura Diamond in The Mysteries of Laura, and the first episode makes a reference to Law & Order: SVU being a TV show. However, that doesn’t mean a crossover can’t happen. “In the world of TV, anything is possible,” Messing explains. While the two shows are “very different” in terms of tone, Messing would be down to cross paths with Hargitay’s Olivia Benson. “She’s my best friend, I’ve been on her show before. I’m game for anything if it’s done with finesse.”

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Thanks to Julz for sending this to me!

A new exhibit currently on display at the Fort Lee Museum continues the Fort Lee Film Commission’s yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Universal Studio in Fort Lee.

The exhibit, “Universal Studio Centennial Exhibit: From Fort Lee to Universal City,” is produced by the Film Commission and documents the birth of the film giant in the borough in 1912 with archival photos, studio artifacts and more.

It includes items on loan from the studio and from the hit NBC Universal TV show, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which has in the past shot extensively in Fort Lee.

Executive director Tom Meyers of the Fort Lee Film Commission said most of the props used in episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” will eventually have to be returned, but that some of the pieces will remain in Fort Lee.

“Universal was very generous,” Meyers said. “We talked to the people with ‘Law and Order,’ and we actually had a deal with Universal Studio in California; they had to send us a loan agreement. But some of the stuff stays with us. The sketches stay with us and the director’s chair, which we love.”

The chair was used by “Law & Order: SVU” producer and frequent director Peter Leto, who himself has strong ties to Fort Lee.

“There’s a lot of meaning to that chair,” Meyers said. “It’s great to have it from Universal and the TV show, but the guy who uses it is a graduate of Fort Lee High School. It’s because of Peter that I’m sure that we got that piece.”

In fact, an entire section of the exhibit is dedicated to “Law & Order: SVU,” with two display cases full of artifacts and props, the chair and location photos of production of the show in Fort Lee.

There’s also a picture of Leto with some Fort Lee High School students, taken when he visited the school a few years ago and spoke with local students about directing and producing the show.

But the museum exhibit isn’t just about “Law and Order: SVU;” the primary focus is Universal Studio and its history, as the name suggests.

It includes enlarged archival photos of Universal Studio under construction in Fort Lee way back in the early 1900s, some of which Meyers said the people currently with Universal have never seen.

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I also added a few photos from the exhibit which you can view here.




The struggling NBC network announced a new programming initiative last week that involves characters in each scripted series ending episodes by breaking the fourth wall and asking viewers point blank what sort of television shows they would most like to see in the future. “Now that we’ve closed the books on yet another thrilling criminal investigation, it’s time to solve the mystery of just what you guys would tune in to if you had your pick,” said Law And Order: Special Victims Unit‘s Mariska Hargitay, flanked by co-star Christopher Meloni, who stopped arresting the episode’s prime suspect, waived to the audience, and said, “Hi there. Did you like this episode of television? Would you like to see something else instead, either in place of us or in place of something else?” Meloni was then joined by the rest of the cast as well as NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, who shook hands with all the actors before introducing himself and addressing viewers. “Good evening. How about a three-camera family sitcom? A hospital drama? Some kind of musical contest thing, maybe? Really, don’t be shy; we just need to know what it is you want so we can make more money and be a better company. Please email your suggestions to viewervoices@nbc.com and try to be as detailed as possible when explaining the type of programming you’d like to see. Have a good night.” Following Greenblatt’s announcement, the show’s closing credits began to roll.

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Just to be clear The Onion is not an official news source. It’s not to be taken serious, it’s supposed to be fun. It’s not true at all!




There’s a new man in Olivia Benson’s life.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has booked Emmy and Grammy winner Harry Connick Jr. for a multi-episode arc, TVGuide.com has learned. NBC is expected to announce Connick’s casting Friday at the Television Critics Association winter previews.

Connick, who is currently starring on Broadway in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, will play Executive Assistant District Attorney David Haden, a committed, straight-shooting prosecutor who is assigned a case with Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay). While Benson is initially wary of Haden, they both soon learn that they make good team. And that teamwork could spill out of the courtroom.

The relationship comes as Benson continues to deal with the loss of her partner, Elliot Stabler, who was written out of the show after Christopher Meloni elected not to renew his contract for the NBC procedural’s 13th season.

“This is a home run on so many levels,” Hargitay said of Connick’s casting. “The show is very fortunate to have Harry’s extraordinary talent, and I’m lucky because I get to work with my friend. I think Olivia couldn’t have asked for a better companion to take her through a new stage in her life and career.”

Connick, 44, is a three-time Grammy and two-time Emmy winner, most recently for the musical direction of his live concert TV special. He has appeared in the films Hope Floats, Independence Day, Copycat, P.S. I Love You and Dolphin Tale. On the small screen he’s best known for his recurring role as Dr Leo Markus on NBC’s Will & Grace.

SVU airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC. Connick’s arc begins Jan. 18.

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NBC already has a series set behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show in Emmy-winning comedy 30 Rock. Now the network is looking to pull back the veil on the inner workings of reality series. NBC has bought American Dream, an hourlong spec written by Paul Kolsby and executive produced by Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, feature producer Andrew Lazar and Steve Shainberg. Shainberg, director of the 2002 feature Secretary, is also attached to direct the potential pilot. American Dream is described as a bitingly funny, risque and sophisticated melodrama about the symbiotic relationship between network executives and the “talent” in a reality television series.

Kolsby, a playwright and screenwriter, had a lot of personal experience to draw on in writing the American Dream — he has worked as a producer on a number of reality series, including Jersey Shore and Bridezillas. Kolsby developed the project with Shainberg and Lazar. Original Artists, which reps Kolsby and Lazar then gave the script to Hargitay who loved it and came on board as an executive producer. Through her producing deal at NBC, she took the script to the network’s brass who picked it up. Hargitay is repped by CAA; Shainberg is managed by Industry Entertainment. Lazar is currently producing Akira for Warners with Jaume Collete-Serra directing and Gunslinger for New Regency with James Mangold directing.

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The Playboy Club alum Laura Benanti has been cast as Detective Nick Amaro’s wife Leanne on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Benanti joins the show when her character returns from overseas and she and Amaro (Danny Pino) must figure out where their relationship stands.

Benanti, who played the Bunny Mother on the quickly canceled NBC series, will have a three-episode arc. Her first episode, “Spiraling Down,” will air in December.

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Big thanks to Corinne for sending me this link!

Mariska HargitayMariska Hargitay said she’s open-minded about sticking around for more seasons of ‘Law & Order: SVU.’

When asked if Season 13 (premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 10PM ET on NBC) would be her last, Hargitay said, “I’m going into this with a completely open mind.”

“What I’ve learned is you don’t know what the future brings and everything is new,” she said. “Everything is fresh.”

Hargitay’s longtime co-star Christopher Meloni left the show after Season 12.

During a press conference on set of ‘SVU,’ Hargitay said it’s thrilling to have new faces enter the fray.

“The show was a well-oiled machine, it took a lot of years to get where we were,” she said. “I think we’re in a pretty great place … we grew into a team — and still are a team — and have these incredible, talented new teammates, but also it’s exciting to have fresh eyes on what has been. That’s exciting.”

The actress has been with the show since it’s inception, playing Detective Olivia Benson for 13 years. In 2005, Hargitay won a Golden Globe for her work on ‘SVU.’ An Emmy followed in 2006. Hargitay has been nominated for an Emmy eight times, including a nomination this year, with that ceremony airing on Sun., Sept. 18 (8PM ET/5PM PT on Fox).

After much speculation, NBC confirmed Hargitay will appear in all 22 episodes of Season 13, a season of major changes. Along with Meloni’s departure, B.D. Wong has also left the series, and showrunner Neal Baer left and was replaced by Warren Leight.

Alums Stephanie March and Diane Neal are reprising their assistant district attorney roles this season, and former ‘Chase’ star Kelli Giddish and ‘Cold Case’ veteran Danny Pino have joined ‘SVU’ as new detectives.

“Everything is different about ‘SVU,'” Hargitay said. “The team is still in place, the chemistry is still in place and the desire to make it great is still in place.”

Stay tuned to AOL TV for more details on the new season of ‘Law & Order: SVU.’

‘Law & Order: SVU’ premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 10PM ET on NBC

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Video: SVU Season 13 Interview
September 15, 2011






Here is a video of the cast talking about Season 13 and I also added captures to the gallery as well.


SVU Season 13 Sneak Peek Interview Captures




Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is not the same show it was when new executive producer Warren Leight was hired to run it.

Since Leight (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, In Treatment, Lights Out) took the reins four months ago, veteran cast member Christopher Meloni has left the show and he’s been replaced by two new faces: Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino. But Leight is looking at the positive. “We call it SVU 2.0 this year,” Leight tells TVGuide.com. “I’m aware of how successful and well-liked this show is. I’m just trying to figure out how you rejuvenate it after 12 years.”

In the expansive interview below, Leight discusses how he plans to do just that. Plus: He gives us the scoop on how losing a partner will affect Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay), what we can expect from the new detectives and whether Meloni might return for a final goodbye.

What brought you back to the Law & Order franchise after working on In Treatment and Lights Out.
Warren Leight:
Naively, I thought, ‘I don’t want to launch [a new show].’ … I thought it might be nice to have a little bit more budget, to have eight days to shoot, and not have to reinvent the wheel. Of course, I thought this as I’m coming in the door. Then, Chris Meloni left.

So you had no idea he was leaving when you joined?
Leight:
I ran into Chris twice in the transition month where I was just beginning to kick the tires, and he was guarded with me. I said, ‘Well, I’m hoping it works out.’ He was like, ‘We’ll see.’ The impression people had was that this was this bizarre ballet that happens every spring. You know, there’s sort of a “nothing gets done until the last minute, and then it all gets done” mentality. But, no, I had no idea.

What kind of planning had you done before you knew Meloni was out?
Leight:
I had a theory about the co-dependence of Elliot and Olivia, and I had questions about the health of that relationship. One of the things that worried me was, like in any family dynamic, after a while people get assigned certain roles. In a healthy environment, people can switch roles a little more. I worried that there was too much anger coming from Elliot and too much empathy coming from Olivia. I had just begun to wonder, ‘What do we do to shake it up?’ Then Chris’ departure happened. It forced the issue in a good way: Instead of having to push people out of their roles, by definition their roles have changed now.

How does the new season deal with Stabler and what happened in last year’s finale?
Leight:
We begin with Elliot’s character still on administrative leave, and we deal with it that way. If you’re ever involved in a police shooting, you go on admin leave, and you’re paid while they investigate the shooting. So, we start out with the squad room that doesn’t have Elliot, and then it plays out.

Is there any plan to have Meloni return to give Stabler a proper send-off?
Leight:
There’s talk. I don’t know that it’s viable talk. He’s not in the first six episodes, for sure. One of the things we’re trying to do is stay in the moment. In real life, do you always get closure when relationships end? At a certain point, I guess you would wonder what would it be like to have him wander in Episode 15 or something, but I don’t know. The audience knows Chris Meloni’s left the show.

I imagine his presence will still be felt for a while after he’s gone.
Leight:
Absolutely. The character most affected by his departure is Olivia. I think in the old days of Law & Order, you’d rip a limb off, attach a new limb, and go back and pitch. Rub some dirt in the wound and go out there. We’re trying to do that a little. To my mind and to Mariska’s mind, [Stabler’s exit] will be playing out over several episodes — sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in overt ways.

What do you see as the arc for Benson this season?
Leight:
I think she’s untethered at the start. In a weird way, her character never had to question things because Elliot did the questioning for her. Now, she finds herself evolving into somebody who sees the gray a little bit from time to time. Now she has to pay attention to different things, she has to understand things differently. I think that makes it very difficult, professionally or romantically, to partner up anew. Readjusting to life without a partner of 12 years is [the focus] for the first quarter of the season. Then, [there are] the first tentative steps of re-engaging with other people and finding your footing. Ultimately, loss can be liberating. I’m trying to chart the emotional life of somebody who’s gone through a huge separation, and I’ll see where that takes her. But I think there will be fledgling steps at relationships and partnerships, and we’ll see what takes or doesn’t.

Is one of those fledgling relationships with Andre Braugher’s character?
Leight:
I don’t know where it’s going, but we haven’t made any of those decisions yet. I get a little frustrated when people start accusing me and yelling at me about something that I haven’t done. We haven’t written a word of this yet.

But do they share some sort of bond?
Leight:
Olivia doesn’t really have anyone outside the squad room. You can bitch about things at work, but who do you have who has a little perspective on it? [His] job takes a lot out of him the same way being a detective for Olivia takes a lot out of her. I think they have more in common if we can make it work.

There’s been some confusion about Benson’s future role. What is her relationship with the new detectives? Is she their boss? Their partner?
Leight:
She’s not their boss, but she is an experienced detective. I talked to a bunch of cops, and when new guys come into the squad room, they don’t get assigned partners right away. You want to see how the new guys are doing. You want to see what teams work best. You’ll see rotations. In the same way the captain is looking at this team in the squad room, I’m looking at what combinations work well. There’s more of an ensemble feel to the show this season.

What can you tell us about the two new detectives?
Leight:
You have detectives now coming out of college with degrees in forensic psychology. That’s Kelli Giddish’s character. Amanda Rollins is up from the South. She’s self-made, and she’s had a lot of book training. She has the kind of training you get now at Quantico. That was missing from the squad room: Somebody who approaches things with actual technical knowledge … an almost intellectual, academic, very structured approach. The other thing that seems to be missing from the squad room was somebody who [is] actually trying to elicit confessions through empathy. Olivia has great empathy for the victims, but there was a lot of shouting at the perps, especially with Chris’ character. That doesn’t get you a good confession. I thought it would be interesting to have somebody come in who’s almost a con artist, who really has an intuitive sense of when people are lying or telling the truth. [Danny’s character] reads people very well. He gets on their side and takes the onus of the crime they committed away from them. He appears to not be judging them.

You’re bringing back Stephanie March, Diane Neal and Linus Roache. Why was that important to you?
Leight:
Chris leaving is upsetting to a lot of people. My thought was it softens the blow. Also, Stephanie March and Diane Neal are iconic DAs for this show. Part of it is a refocusing toward law and order. In the real world, this unit works very closely with the district attorney’s office because of the gray nature of these crimes and the difficulty of corroboration. The show had more medical than legal the last several years. So, the template of the show has changed a bit.

You are now running the last surviving piece of the Law & Order franchise in the United States. Does that add pressure?
Leight:
I’m aware of it, yes. [Laughs] It’s a storied franchise, and I don’t want to go down with the last ship. I’d rather this be the turning point or a regeneration of the franchise. It was made clear to me that — and this was before Chris had left — if the show kept going the way it was going, at most it had two years left. Probably just one. If you keep doing everything you’ve been doing, you’ll be gone. That’s an interesting message to get when you take a new job. I have to hope that … the changes being made this year lead to another five years for this show. And clearly, this summer made the case for why this show needs to be on the air. It felt like every week there was a story about powerful men behaving badly or strange goings on. In New York, the number of murders is down 75 percent from its peak, but that’s not the case with this kind of crime at all. We have a wall in the writers’ room that has 50 New York Post headlines on it from the summer. It’s not like the show’s original conceit doesn’t make sense anymore.

You have already planned to do takes on Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stories. Will you continue ripping from the headlines, or do you want to focus on your own storytelling?
Leight:
It’ll evolve. But if you’re doing a show called SVU and you ignore all of the stories brought up by this summer, you’re an idiot. It’s exactly what this show is about. But while we’re ripping from the headlines, the second show of the season is about male-on-male violence. It is inspired by a couple of real-life stories, but it isn’t an area that people talk about much and it’s a horrifying fact of life for a lot of men. And there are times where we have scripted stories, and the actual events ripped us off.

What other changes are you making this season?
Leight:
The season ended with a blood bath in the squad room. In real life, if somebody got into a squad room with a gun and shot people, there would be repercussions. So, I redid this, I moved that. There used to be a cell in the middle of the squad room, and we’ve moved that to a more secure location. Little things. We’ve installed some boundaries. Also, Capt. Cragen (Dann Florek) is aware that his unit has screwed up. He’s a little bit less of a paper tiger. The captain is regaining control of the squad room. I think it’s gotten away from him in the last few years. That’s the problem when you have people who’ve been in your squad room for 12 years: They do what they want. We’re also playing the beat of there are more eyes on the squad room this year. In truth, there are more eyes on the show this year than in Season 11 or 10. I just keep trying to recycle what’s actually going on into the production of the show.

So, what’s your biggest goal this year?
Leight:
First of all, survive. Survive the transition and make a compelling case for why people should continue to watch the show and come back to the show. That’s on a business level. On a thematic level, we want to explore the gray of all of this. And to explore the psyches of victims and perps a little bit more and the effect this work takes on the people who do it. When a cop tells me about a real-life interrogation he did, I’m on the edge of my chair. That’s where we want to be.

Law & Order: SVU premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10/9c on NBC.

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