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NBC Boss Reveals the Real Story Behind Law & Order: SVU Cast Shakeup!

Law And Order SVU, Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay NBC Photo: Justin Stephens

Talk about a mystery.

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay were set to be the lone Law & Order survivors on NBC until Meloni's exit. And then there were rumors that Hargitay would be shortening her number of episodes. Today, however, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt gave reporters the bottom line regarding Hargitay's SVU shooting schedule.

Also announced? Future NBC programs currently in development (Sean Hayes and firefighters!), plus the official premiere date for season two of The Voice...

MORE: TV Update: Ian Somerhalder. Naked. Covered in Bubbles.

Despite rumors that Hargitay would be appearing in fewer episodes during Law and Order: SVU's 13th season, Greenblatt insist that she will be in "every episode" this season.

"There were some rumors of her dropping down, and bringing in new cast members. But Mariska is there in every single episode, and it's my goal to see that continues past this season. In the past couple years, to my understanding, she's lightened her load a little bit. The show's going into its 13th year, so I think it's not unreasonable to think she might want to lighten her workload. There might be a day every couple of weeks she's not working, but I don't think you'll notice [her missing]."

As for Meloni's exit, Greenblatt insists that the way he is being written out is "not a big sort of shocker," meaning he probably won't be killed off. Take a deep breath, Stabler fans. "There was no renegotiation after Chris left. Somebody wrote there was a rumor that Jennifer Love Hewitt would be joining the show. That would mean Mariska would be in fewer episodes, and that is not the case." Apparently, Det. Benson will be taking on more of a boss role this season.

The honcho also addressed James Spader sliding into Carell's spot on The Office, revealing that Greenblatt himself recently sat in during a table read with Spader and the cast. "I think James Spader is completely different than Steve in his own iconic acting style. I think he's the perfect fit in the mix," he says.

Here are other highlights from Greenblatt's NBC presentation:

  • Will Chuck get anything more than 13 episodes? "No. They are designing the series to finale," says Greenblatt.
  • Fans of The Event have wanted to see the storylines wrapped up via a television movie, but that dream is slowly fading. "[A TV movie has] been discussed with Syfy. If it happened it would definitely be on Syfy, but it's looking less likely than it did a couple weeks ago," he says.
  • Greenblatt is "not concerned at all" about the lawsuit regarding The Firm's TV adaptation. "I think it will all go away," he says.
  • Sean Hayes will be back on your TV! Though he's been behind the camera lately producing TV series (Hot in Cleveland), he's recently signed a deal with NBC to go back to starring on the screen. "I really think it was time for him to star in a comedy again," says Greenblatt. The comedy is set to premiere next year.
  • Greg Daniels, who Greenblatt calls one of the "founding father of NBC's Thursday night," has signed on to produce more shows, with an emphasis on animation. "I think Greg is going to do some really interesting things in that area." Daniels was behind the long-running Fox series King of the Hill.
  • Sure, we may not have four Law and Orders anymore (RIP Criminal Intent, LOLA, and Original L&O), but pretty soon we'll have hot men and women to watch! Literally. Dick Wolf, the man behind the L&O machine, is developing an hour long drama revolving around firefighters.
  • The second season of The Voice will premiere after the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 5. "We looked at platform Super Bowl could give us, so why not take advantage of how many millions of people will stick around? It will give it the best possible notch to kick it off this spring." And following another two-hour episode of The Voice on Monday, Feb 6 is the premiere of Smash, starring Debra Messing and AI alum Katharine McPhee.
  • Anchorman the TV show? Maybe. NBC has signed a development deal with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. "This development deal with Will and Adam is a major step forward for our studio," Greenblatt said in a statement. "They know how to make people laugh, aren't afraid to take risks, and are among the elite of the entertainment industry's creative leaders."
  • Everyone likes Adam Levine now, and especially NBC. Levine is currently developing a half-hour comedy.
  • Do you enjoy game nights with friends? How about celebrities? Well then NBC has the show for you, because a "celebrity game night" show is currently in development. Need another reason to tune in? "Tom Hanks will drop in," reveals Greenblatt.

Kristin is back from maternity leave today and will be sitting down with Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, the Chuck cast and more—all from the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills. Tweet her questions @kristindsantos and stand by for more news, video and scoop.

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