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Hooray! “Law & Order SVU” has been renewed for its 21st season this fall.

That will make the show the longest running ever nighttime series. Mariska Hargitay sets a record as star of the show from Day 1.

“SVU” passes “Gunsmoke,” which held the record. It’s quite an accomplishment. Hargitay started the series with Chris Meloni. When he left in 2011, it was uncertain if Hargitay could go it alone. But she has, triumphantly, as cast members have come and gone she’s remained the show’s heroine and moral center. She deserves Emmy nominations and more credit, frankly. At this point, “SVU” could easily go to season 25. The show’s concept has become more contemporary over time.

“We tip our cap to [creator/executive producer] Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay and the amazing cast and crew of SVU, who now all go into the record book,” said Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen of NBC Entertainment. “This incredible run is an example of what happens when producers, writers and actors all come together and create a show that, year after year, speaks to its audience in a powerful way. We couldn’t be more proud of this remarkable achievement.”

“I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today,” added Hargitay. “The longevity and continued success of SVU is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers, but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them.”

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