'Law and Order' fans eager for return of Elliot Stabler will have to wait a bit longer

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The highly-anticipated spinoff “Law & Order: Organized Crime” featuring Christopher Meloni’s return as the beloved character in the franchise is being delayed.

The Hollywood Reporter notes the Dick Wolf spinoff will no longer be part of NBC’s fall TV schedule as previously announced.

Sources say the delay isn’t caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but rather by the exit of showrunner Matt Olmstead.

The outlet notes the exit is due to “challenges cracking the show’s creative.”

Olmstead, who signed a three-year overall deal with Universal TV, will be assigned to another show in the Wolf franchise.

The outlet notes that the series is searching for a replacement showrunner.

Wolf’s collection of shows also includes “FBI,” “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago P.D.,” and “Chicago Med.”

According to NBC, “Organized Crime” snagged a 13-episode straight to series order. Stabler was expected to return to the NYPD after suffering a “devastating loss.” It was set to air in the Thursday 10 p.m. time-slot following the Mariska Hargitay-led drama.

Meloni was last seen portraying Stabler in the season 12 finale of “SVU” in 2011.
Prior to his abrupt exit following contract negotiations, Meloni and Hargitay starred on “SVU” for 12 seasons together.

This is the second time Meloni’s return as Stabler has been postponed. “SVU”s season 21 finale was supposed to serve as the backdoor pilot for the spinoff series, but it never happened because production was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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