Friday, July 12, 2024

“Law & Order SVU” Scores Highest Total Viewers in 3 Years as Benson and Stabler Get All Gooey


What a night last night for Benson and Stabler on “Law & Order SVU.” They got all gooey, almost kissed, kind of professed love for each other.

And the fans went batshit crazy. The episode scored a season high of 5.6 million viewers. Advanced warning of this “SVU” romantic non event made viewers tune in early for “Law & Order” at 8pm, pushing that show’s ratings up over 5 million. Yee-hah!

That’s the biggest total viewer number since April 1, 2020, which was 8 million, when Chris Meloni returned as Elliot Stabler, his wife was killed off, and Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson got misty eyed after 12 years of not thinking about him.

But the glow subsided when 10pm came and “Organized Crime” followed. Around three million people left do other things. “OC” pulled in just 2 million fans.

“SVU” is now so different from its origins. If you look at reruns, it was a hardcore procedural. Now it’s a Regency Romance novel. Very weird. But it works, brings in viewers, and just keeps going.

Will these two ever consummate their thang? Probably a May season ending cliffhanger. But that will take all the wind out of these sails. I call it ‘Benson Hedges’ after the long ago cigs, Benson & Hedges.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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