Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Neal Baer to Exit Law & Order SVU for CBS

Several sources are reporting that Law & Order SVU showrunner Neal Baer will be leaving the show at the end of this current season. Baer is heading over to CBS, who has offered Baer a three-year development and production deal. Baer himself said via Twitter “Hello, SVU-ers! Yes, I'm going to CBS AT THE END OF THE SEASON. But I'm still on SVU and we've got great shows coming...”

It’s a big loss for SVU, but a big gain for CBS. Best wishes to Neal and a big thanks for being SVU’s biggest cheerleader!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


debussey55 said...

Allow me to disagree. If Neal Baer is the reason SVU has lame stories and too much Benson, then his leaving is not a big loss at all.

Anonymous said...

I think it was about time he left. A new perspective is needed on this show. I stopped watching after season 7 or 8 because the stories were so stupid and the characters were horribly written. Neal Baer cared more about the teenage fans that wanted Elliot and Olivia together than the storylines.

Baer's departure is the second best news I heard about SVU in a long time. The first was when a friend told me that Meloni was leaving after the end of this season. I never cared for Stabler or his family problems. I won't be sad to see either of them leave. I might start watching again.

Deb said...

I agree; I won't lose any sleep over Baer's departure. I'll be jumping on top of tables around the time SVU has the season 12 finale: which hopefully won't be the last.

There is an online petiton to get Robert Palm, SVU's first season showrunner, back in the 'hot seat': - After I comment here; I'm going to go a-signing!

Dalton said...

Neal Baer gone? Doesn't seem all that bad to me. Maybe the show can finally abandon the character drama that seems to slap you in the face every time you watch an episode.

And AllThings, just to let you know, you spelled Baer as Bear a couple of times in the post. Anyways, thanks for the news!

janethyland said...

I saw this this morning and posted under previous threads about it.

More news. They have recruited two new actors for Law andf Order UK.They had to do something to rally viewers but its not that interesting a choice. Dominic Rowan is the better bet...he guested in Trial and Retribution, the much revered crime drama of Lynda La plante.
Peter Davison is less interesting. He starred in the light weight vet drama "All creatures great and small". He was also the fifth Doctor Who for two years.

Is there some developmental transition going on between actors of Coronation street, Doctor Who and Law and Order UK!
Or is it a business connection?

jennifer said...

What is going on with the Law & Order franchise; I just talked to a buddy with the DD in New York and he said one of the male cast members on LOLA is contemplating to leave before the season ends.

All Things; if you get a development on that, fill us in!

Baer leaves SVU, someone's attempting to leave LOLA, and UK gets TWO cast members! That's some bad math

Anonymous said...

The franchise is clearly in trouble, though I agree Bear's departure isn't bad if it doesn't mean SVU isn't coming back.

janethyland said...

I hope its not Coyote...he hasnt been on for two weeks...but then neither has Molinas. Would Molinas be leaving.

Still its only rumour. Baer and UK additions are reported facts.

The Law and Orders brag about their revolving door policy with staff,dont they? Isnt it just considered normal?

nygma619 said...

Deb, the first season was somewhat lame so I don't know what him being back would really accomplish.

With all the people bitching about Neal Baer's departure, where have those complaints been this season? Oh that's right, they only pop up when people don't like one episode, because people on here tend to be fickle. I mean, I think he's been inconsistant the last five years, but when he kept his head on straight, he was a pretty damn good as showrunner.

xfool said...

Bad news that Baer is leaving. My opinion is that he sees Meloni and/or Hargitay not coming back next season, which would put the show in jeopardy. OR - the show can't afford EITHER Meloni or Hargitay any more and with the poor ratings the show is getting, the plug is gonne get pulled.

Be afraid SVUers, be very afraid!

gurl yeah! said...

If you ask me; ALL the Law & Order's need to get the axe EXPECT LOLA.

L&O (already), SVU, and CI NEED to be canceled.

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" is the only GOOD one left. SVU has gone to the dogs and the E/O fans. It's not about hard-core 'headlined' drama anymore. I disagree nygma619 - season 1 of SVU was a good season. Seasons 1-7 were good, 8 was fair, seasons 9-present ALWAYS have poorly written episodes by people who just want to write for Benson/Stabler and see them go to bed naked!

I hope SVU does et canceled! Season 11 was the WORST season of SVU with the episodes "Bullseye", "Wet", "Branded", "Gray", and "Trophy".

SVU's BEST this season are: "Locum", "Behave", "Merchandise", and "Penetration".

Now who's right?!

"NCIS: Los Angeles", the original "CSI" and "CSI: New York", along with "Law & Orders: SVU and CI" need CANCELLING!

"Law & Order: Los Angeles", the original "NCIS", and "CSI: Miami" need to be the only ones running of their franchises.

All they are are the same shows benefiting actors from NYC and LA!

All Things Law and Order said...

Dalton, thanks, that's what I get for trusting my automatic spell checker! (I fixed it.)

debussey55 said...

nygma619 wonders where all the complaints are.

Try TWOP's SVU discussion board--that or you can check my TV at the show's scheduled time. I now watch something else and hope the reviews are good enough to make me watch the recording. I've seen two episodes so far this season and neither were must see T V.

nygma619 said...

debussey55, TWOP's boards are all filled with internet parasites who are too narrow minded to see the forest from the trees.

gurl yeah!- if season 9-present were written for people who "want to see Benson & Stabler in bed" we would've seen that by now. Also CSI: Miami is just as bad as the other CSI shows, if not worse.

For the record Season 9 of SVU was easily the shows worst season.

Anonymous said...

This will be it for SVU - the first rat has left the sinking ship.

nygma619 said...


That's what people said when cast members/writers & producers left the mothership for years.

Esaul said...


Criminal Intent is on its last season right now, an eight episode order with VDO and Kathryn back. Again, rumor has it that this will be the final season of SVU, and I doubt that's why Baer left. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with who can pay him more, and I mean it's becoming more and more expensive to keep SVU going, the longer it's on air, and soon NBC won't be paying Baer the big bucks, even if the show were to continue. Not just that, but think of it this way: Which network is number one right now, and has been pretty much this whole time since the fall season started. Answer: Not NBC, but CBS. If he wants a rating-winning show his chances are better off at CBS, I mean if I were in Baer's place, I would abandon ship in a heartbeat and go to CBS. And with a new show, you have the chance to start from scratch, build whatever foundation you want, and again even if SVU makes it for another season, it won't be lasting much longer, even if CO and MH and make some sort of deal. He has more of a chance starting a new show, and keeping that running for five/six years versus SVU which has probably a couple left. If anything, I would love for them to keep SVU running, but as much as I hate to say it, bring in new cast members if CO and MH don't want to continue. That's how it was done on the Mothership. The Mothership was about the cases itself from a week to week basis, not about the characters, that's how it used to be done on SVU, once in a while we'd get a glimpse in the Stabler household, which was great. I really would love for them to bring back the Mothership, if anything, but however that's not likely at all...

Dalton said...

Personally, I think SVU will get another season, even without Meloni, Hargitay, and Baer. But, I seriously doubt it would get another season after that. I can see NBC trying to go on without Meloni and Hargitay, but without some of the best written episodes in Law & Order history, the show is probably going to tank with two new lead detectives.

And, like Esaul, I'd be in full support of bringing back the mothership, but that's clearly not going to happen. At least we can hope for a TV movie or two from the mothership.

nygma619 said...


In the last season of the mothership, they had some fantastic episodes, but that didn't help them, did it.
Writing quality is not what's going to keep things afloat, it's viewer interest. Hell you think the popularity of something abysmal like Jersey Shore comes from good writing?

Esaul said...

It wasn't the viewer interest that got the show canceled though. Originally they were going to give L&O a season 21, but that decision got retracted, clearly. Everyone knows that was a huge mistake, hell even 30 Rock made fun of that.

Carl said...

I agree 100% with Esaul and DISagree 100% of everything nygma619 has said.

Season 9: SVU's "worst" season: NO! Season 11 was SVU's "worst" season.

Good writing/acting/delivering in dramas SAVES shows: not what the show is about. I.E. "Law & Order" and even the "Simpsons" are gonna be around until after 2015!

NBC shouldn't have rushed! I like that they gave us LOLA instead of saying we're done with L&O completely. If LOLA hadn't have came in; I don't think SVU would be where it is now (it'd be in worse shape).

L&O/die-hard SVU fans bitched about how they were leaving after May 24th. Some have; some stayed though. Even though SVU: Wet, Branded, Trophy, and Gray were not up to par; the rest of the 12th SVU season has been fair (unlike last year when everybody wanted Baer out; some will still get "what they want").

If L&O: SVU had only 2 MIL people watching: it'd still be eligible for renewal because a certain % in the Age 18-49 demo! It's not how many, but how much! There is NO reason SVU shouldn't be renewed for a 13th season.

And as for Baer; nice knowin' ya!

nygma619 said...

"Good writing/acting/delivering in dramas SAVES shows: not what the show is about."

It didn't save the mothership sadly. Executives care more about ratings before everything else.

I thought things like the writers strike, Adam Beach, and many other things contributed to how weak season 9 was.

Personally I've felt this season has been one of the best they done in a while so far. Trophy aside all the episodes have ranged from decent (Merchandise, Wet, Branded) to Great (Locum, Bullseye, Behave, Penetration, Gray).

janethyland said...

Last week LOLA beat SVU in total numbers of viewers.Thats a bit brow beating!

Sheila said...

LOLA is great! SVU is better than it has been.

It's the people behind the scenes which is where the problem lays.

LOLA is trying to do BOTH the mothership formula and a mix with a new formula and it's not giving them a good end result (in some cases, like the pilot episode Hollywood)

SVU is 'trying' to recover from a piss-poor 11th season! Season 11 of SVU was worse than season 9 IMO too! Wet was the worst of the season, with Trophy, Gray, & Branded following! Locum/Bullseye, BEHAVE, Merchandise, and Penetration are SVU's strongest this season.

Last week people obviously cared about tuning inl seeing serial killers continue killing w/o justice over college rape/Kathleen Stabler.

The Mothership just got a raw deal from NBC and TNT: nothing was wrong with it. Style, cast/crew, and all.

Sheila said...

I also think SVU has gone OVERBOARD with Benson/Stabler drama in the past 4-5 seasons. After Kathy had Eli we really needed to stop seeing her and the kids on a regular basis.

As much as it pains me to say it. I'd rather see Calvin Arliss and Benson drama than Stabler family drama.

The ONLY "Law & Order" that needs personal drama is LOCI because that's how the series started. Walon Green messed up LOCI in season 8 when he wanted to turn CI into a light drama. And season 9 when he tried to make the show "light with dull-crimes with some criminal intent and catch Nichols make a bland joke or two!" And he failed at doing so. Now LOCI is being canceled because of it.

As for Neal Baer; he plays both sides of the coin when it comes down to the style. One week an episode has too much of Benson/Stabler and the next has you jumping out of your seat!

Like when Branded aired I wasn't feeling it. Trophy was better-ish. Penetration shocked me good! Gray was back to better-ish.

Neal probably is trying to come up with ways to make the season "interesting" but he doesn't know that most fans only care about when he 'rips' cases from headlines and SVU gives it that visceral drama that you can't fathom in the slightest (i.e. the episode "Behave").

I don't think Chris M. is going to leave SVU just yet because he said as long as it's renewed he'll be there. And Mariska is still trying to see Benson develop more. But recently I've wanted to knock Benson out.

If you ask me; Robert Palm (from season 1), Dawn DeNoon and Judith McCreary need to step up as executive producers and Rob or Dawn needs to be showrunner. Daniel Truly does NOT; his episodes often get some uncontrollable until you just want to shove the TV on the floor.

Esaul said...

A lot of the reasoning behind the Mothership's cancellation was all behind the scenes discussion, talking about the money for production and for re-airing the episodes from the 21st season. NBC was trying to negotiate with Wolf, and because production cost so much, they wanted Wolf to pay for most of it. You see, despite viewership, that's another issue a network faces with a show that's been on for as long as the original L&O. The longer a show is on tv, the more money it'll cost for production and its actors. Additionally, as someone had pointed out a few months ago that TNT had some sort of contract to re-air the L&O seasons up through season twenty. And now TNT, thanks to the L&O reruns is now a network that doesn't have to rely on the mothership like it used to. It's re-airing episodes of Bones, CSI: NY, and has original programming like The Closer, where Kyra Sedgwick just recently won an Emmy for her work on the show. AMC was interested for a brief while in becoming the new home for L&O, but I mean clearly that didn't work, and I'm sure they couldn't have afforded it anyway. I personally don't see LOLA lasting more than another year or two. Same thing goes for SVU too, though I still believe it will be cancelled at the end of this season. Mariska and Chris are the second highest paid actors in a drama series, after Hugh Laurie and I don't foresee them coming to some sort of contractual agreement when they want more money...

gahks said...

Robert Palm, Dawn DeNoon and Judith McCreary are the three best candidates for Neal's replacement as executive producer. I particularly have enjoyed Judy's episodes; she deserves a shot at being showrunner. That said, I wouldn't mind some Rene Balcer action either on 'SVU'!

janethyland said...

Timing is everything.
Whats unusual about Baer is that he managed to avoid the revolving door for 10 or so years.

Now suddenly he says CBS has better writing conditions, but its been obvious for years that NBC doesnt look after its writers or shows, so why now the sudden realisation.

gahks said...

You make a very good point Janet.

Esaul said...

IF NBC doesn't take care of their shows, why has L&O had 20 years on air? And why has SVU had 12? It isn't NBC itself that doesn't take care of its shows, it's Jeff Zucker that ruined the network the moment he took over. Before he took charge of NBC, the network was number one, but since then...not just that, but I mean look what he did last year with The Jay Leno show...And again, Baer probably sees the writing on the wall that SVU's dwindling down on its episodes, and he wants to jump ship before it's too late. Personally I don't blame him. As much as I love SVU and the L&O shows, I would do the same exact thing if I were in his place.

janethyland said...

NBC cancelled Southland and Mothership, both suddenly.I dont think Drama matters much to them. Most of their money is made on Reality TV and Sport when they top the ratings in the summer period.NBC Universal owns USA cable and thats where most of their drama interests lie.

Soon its going to be taken over by Comcast and there will be alot of changes. Maybe that is part of Baers decision to leave now.

Anonymous said...

Whenever someone leaves, actor or writer, they always say that the person leaving decided to go and try new things. I don't believe it for a second. IMHO, Neal Baer didn't decide to leave. I think they just got rid of him.

Esaul said...

Again, this was when Zucker took over NBC. And my point still stands, if NBC doesn't take care of their shows, why did the mothership last as long as it did? And change can be good, and at this rate, with Comcast taken over, I say that's a very good thing. I mean they showed Zucker the door, what more could you ask for? And NBC wanted to keep Baer, that's not why he's leaving the network and heading to CBS.

shondra said...

I agree with Esaul

Not EVERYONE employed with NBC/U get's 'kicked' or fired.

I could see if the Baer news seemed to lead to a cover-up. But it's to the point: Baer is leaving to pursue a carrer with CBS. Period-point-blank.

It doesn't mean SVU is going to get canceled! And if SVU does get cancelled, Wolf supposedly has 'a deal in place' if SVU gets abruptly canceled.

janethyland said...

Baer says he is joining CBS because they will give him the opportunity to write and develop in ways he wants to develop. It was his decision but after 10years in one spot the timing is interesting.

Esaul said...

Which means, he wants to pursue a career with CBS. Doesn't mean this is in anyway NBC's fault. I mean they did want him to stay. And this will be his own show, his own creation. He was a show runner for Dick Wolf's SVU, it wasn't Neal Baer's SVU. And ten years is quite a long time on one show, seeing how most shows don't last past ten years.

Anonymous said...

The problem at NBC is not the L&O franchise, it is that the L&O franchise is the ONLY DECENT programming left on the network. Therefore, L&O viewership is way down because no one knows its even occurring because no one watches the other shows.

Also, network television has yet to realize that an advertising revenue model is not commercials as they are now, but product placement with perhaps one or two commercial breaks in the whole show.

Jack McCoy drinking a Coke or a Budweiser is the future of TV dramas and sitcoms.

Esaul said...

You see, that was always the thing for me and Law and Order before I actually started watching the new episodes. I always figured, hey there's PLENTY of episodes airing all the time on TNT and USA, it'll be there any time for me to watch...and I'm sure there are a lot of people who have that kind of mindset thinking that they can just catch those episodes on either of those stations, without realizing what will happen as a result.

Dalton said...

Well, there's always a chance new episodes of the mothership can come back to the airwaves after the TNT deal expires. In my opinion, with CI set to begin it's final season in the spring, SVU's week to week shifting from great episodes to horrible episodes, and LA's current run of less then average quality episodes (save one or two), the mothership coming back to the air is the franchise's best (and possibly only) chance at staying alive for a couple more years to come.

Dick (not Wolf) said...

L&O is not going to save the franchise

SVU - might save it when Baer leaves.

CI - ruined the franchise after Leight left.

TBJ - tanked in 2005.

UK - it's own business in the UK - might outlive the rest IMO.

LA - if Balcer would go back to the original formula with a Los Angeles twist EVERY week, might survive more than (2) 5 seasons.

SVU is the lead now and if SVU goes, the franchise is gone. The mothership doesn't have anything to do with it, and I don't think Wolf wants it to - Wolf wants LOLA (he always wanted to do L&O: LA - never a reason to until L&O's demise, or CI's).

Mothership is in the history books. SVU is now the show fans need to worry about to keep the franchise going.

I'd like to see TNT (even NBC) host original episodes of the Mothership but I don't think Wolf is going to waste money reviving a 20 year old show. Because it's going to cost $$$$$$ to get it back after 2-3 years and because the show has miles on it.

He could revive TBJ and bring in Sam Waterston w/ de la Garza and/or Sisto, Neuwirth and Anderson/Roache (but I hear they have other roles now).

I'm trying to give LOLA a chance. Trying. I'm trying not to quit watching SVU either like I did LOCI (after season 7).

Dick (not Wolf) said...

And the word around the stable is that L&O: Miami may befall Criminal Intent on USA.

Might pick up the slack CSI lost down there. Miami law is VERY different from NYC/LA. Their ADA's are AS[tate]A's.

But SVU (and even LOLA) should be fans main concern (as of right now). I think LA might get one more season. It's SVU that worries me.

Esaul said...

Of course Wolf cares about the Mothership. Why the hell wouldn't he? I mean WITHOUT the Mothership there would be no SVU, CI, TBJ, UK, LOLA, or Conviction (which you forgot). TBJ failed mainly because of the great Jerry Orbach's death, ratings drastically fell. Not just that but both Conviction and TBJ faced against CBS' Numb3rs. Both of those spinoffs were excellent shows, Conviction's last two episodes were the best of the series, and I really wish to have seen more. Wolf tried to save the Mothership, I highly doubt he wanted to see it go. And he was already working on LOLA long before the Mothership was canceled. I've heard talk about a L&O: Miami, but we have to wait and see, 'cause I haven't heard talk from Wolf about that. It started by some fan on the USA Community Board talking about what he would like to see as a new L&O show, nothing more than that at this point. However, Wolf is having VDO working with him on some sort of pilot. Maybe it'll be another show in the L&O universe where VDO can continue to play Goren, but we gotta wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the "facts" pushed by Dick here are not true at all:

1. LOLA was well in development and was given its first season prior to the mothership being pulled. Period, end of story.

2. It made no sense to piss off L&O fans and thus turn them against LOLA by pulling the mothership.

3. SVU may be in trouble but that is indeed due to the mothership. YOu can't kill the head of the franchise and expect its offspring to survive. Everything in this series is tied to the mothership and by cancelling that you leave off important story lines. Just look at how SVU has arrogantly not even mentioned Jack McCoy this season despite doing so several times last season.

4. LO: Miami is a good idea but will only survive IF the mothership comes back and SVU and LA survive too.

I also think cancelling CI is a huge mistake.

NBC/Wolf Films have a huge opportunity here, particuarly in this period of time when most shows on TV are struggling or just downright bad, to create a multi-network franchise with the mothership, SVU, CI, Miami, LOLA, UK, etc. Creative writing and plot twists would link them all together.

Instead, due to network arrogance, you will not see the mothership revived until at least next fall. I still think it has a chance -- they haven't pulled the website for it on NBC nor the FAcebook page, where they still make posts.

Plus, the shows NBC keeps pushing -- from utter disasters like Undercovers and Outlaw to poorly written and managed shows like the Event (which had potential, but now is on a 3 month hiatus),-- keep failing.

Call it the "Curse of the Mothership" or whatever, but I truly believe the cancellation of Law & Order is the biggest mistake NBC has made in -- well, the last twenty years.

Esaul said...

1. NBC made it the priority, not Wolf himself.

3. Even though I want to agree with you, I cannot, because that is far from true. SVU is the better rated show out of the franchise. Even though it's probably coming to an end, it could survive without the Mothership. As to the "storylines", the shows are just really about a case by case thing, there's no real "storyline" to the show. McCoy was hinted at thus far, but not really mentioned by name. That might not even have anything to do with the Mothership being canceled.

4. IF that is indeed a true rumor, I think it can survive without the Mothership being on air, LOLA's been doing qutie well. Again, i don't like saying it at all. I still doubt Wolf's bringing another L&O to life though.

The thing about "linking" shows together is that it's expensive to do 'crossover' episdoes. So if you have Munch appear on like LOLA or UK, you have to pay him as you would for a full episode of his regular show on SVU, even if he's on the screen for like thirty seconds. That is why you don't see that happen so much. Not just that, but these shows are separated either by location or by theme. Mothership's about homicide. SVU is 'special victims', Criminal Intent is Major Case, UK is Homicide (not too sure if it's also robbery, haven't seen that much yet), and LOLA is Robbery Homicide. Naturally they might overlap quite a bit realistiically, but then you have a show that becomes way too predictable. I for one always loved the surprise of a guest appearance of like Briscoe and Greene (I don't really pay attention to the credits that much) and rather not say oh, they're gonna be on the show this week.

I would LIKE to believe that the Mothership could be brought back, but in a realistic world, I just don't think that's possible. Twenty years on air is quite a long time, and as someone mentioned, it costs a lot of money to keep producing and paying actors. Not just that, but SVU is now using the Mothership's set that they've used since year one. It just wouldn't feel right, at least to me, to give the Mothership a new set. But however, I do agree. NBC is pushing the terrible shows more than they are the seasoned ones. I'm not a fan of any of NBC's new shows (excluding LOLA).

The biggest mistake was giving high ranking positions to Jeff's Zucker and Gaspin. Zucker himself was responsible for the Leno/O'Brien fiasco, and what not. That at thet time was NBC's biggest mistake, but canceling the Mothership probably right now ties with it. The Mothership, in my mind, could've lasted another five, ten years because of the revolving door concept. What I don't understand is why does it cost more for a show to stay on air the longer it's on tv, that's something I might take a look at. It was Jeff Gaspin's fault for canceling the Mothership. Before that it was supposed to be renewed for a 21st season.