Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni will be back on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit when it returns this fall for its 11th season. The news follows on-again, off-again negotiations between the pair and Universal Media Studios, with whom talks had broken down in the spring only to recently heat up. The duo will return for one year with an option on a second year.
Hargitay last season suffered a partially collapsed lung and had reportedly been asking for work flexibility to be written into her contract. With the new deal, she is expected to solidify her position as TV’s highest-paid actress while Meloni is one of the top male earners.
Conflicting reports put their new paychecks at either just below or just above $400,000 an episode. The Hollywood Reporter says it is believed that the duo have negotiated a piece of SVU‘s backend while Variety claims the single point of profit participation in the show they were looking for was not part of the deal.
Hargitay and Meloni have starred on the show since its inception in 1999 and regularly negotiate their contracts together.
In further SVU news, Christine Lahti has signed on to play the assistant district attorney for the new season’s first four episodes. Stephanie March will return after that to reprise her role as ADA Alexandra Cabot, according to media reports.