Veteran Law & Order: SVU executive producer/showrunner Neal Baer is abandoning ship after eleven seasons behind the scenes of the popular NBC drama.
All told, Baer wore the colors of the peacock network for sixteen years, five of which were spent at another NBC mainstay, ER.
Following his scheduled June 1st departure, Baer heads to CBS Television Studios, where he has reportedly signed a lucrative three-year deal.
As Baer told Daily Variety:
"After more than a decade on 'SVU,' I felt it was time to take a breath and say, 'What's next?' And those people who were there for me at the very beginning said, 'We're next,'"
NBC's loss is truly a gain for CBS, a network eager to get back to business - and away from rampant, willy-nilly reality TV programming - particularly with regard to creative storytelling and solid dramatic programming.
Baer says the folks at CBS admire and respect the writing process, "and I admire their insight and passion for storytelling...I think that's a good combination."
Naturally, Baer's departure begs the obvious question: will it hurt the quality of Law & Order: SVU? If we use Dexter as a model for reference, the loss of Clyde Phillips after season 4 was certainly felt by fans and critics alike in season 5. But the juggernaut Law & Order brand now seems to be at a juncture where the machine - and its corresponding established formula - can largely operate itself, despite the guiding hands on deck.
In recent months, the ubiquitous Law & Order programming has experienced a noticeable dip in ratings and viewer interest. But this is likely a function of the struggling NBC network more than a reflection of an individual program’s weakness. This big picture scenario involving NBC's looming troubles is presumably another logical factor prompting Baer's decision to make a fresh start at this point in his career, on another network.
While it isn't yet clear if and how Baer's exit will impact Law & Order: SVU, for the time being it's business as usual at the award-winning NBC series. More than six months remain before Baer heads to the eyeball network, nd, for now, the veteran producer still calls NBC home and looks to finish strong "with great stories and amazing guest actors."
Source: Daily Variety