‘Law & Order: SVU’ Sets Broadcast Syndication Return As ‘Dateline’ Clears 75% Of U.S. Markets

Dade Hayes
·1-min read

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will return to broadcast syndication in fall 2021, airing on local TV stations five days a week.

Along with announcing that news, NBCUniversal also said it has sold Dateline in more than 75% of the U.S. in its fifth syndicated season. For 2021, SVU has already been sold in 60% of the country to a range of station groups.

Now in its 22nd season on NBC, SVU is the longest-running drama in primetime history, and off-network reruns have been airing on cable of late. Its syndicated episodes attracted 110 million unique viewers in 2019, according to NBCU. In the 2020-21 season, it trails only Dateline in terms of viewership and has increased 31% compared with its 2019-20 level.

Dateline was watched by more than 133 million unique viewers in 2019 and has grown 7% in households from 2019-20 to the current season, one of only three syndicated programs in positive territory this season, per NBCU.

For Dateline, next season will be its fifth in national syndication. The syndicated version of the true-crime series airs weekdays on stations from leading groups like Fox, Sinclair, Hearst and Nexstar.

“Both Dateline and SVU are time-tested, fan-favorite quality programs with a foundation in compelling storytelling that continues to generate pop culture buzz,” said Sean O’Boyle, EVP of Syndication Sales for NBCUniversal Syndication Studios, in a press release. “‘We’re excited to offer our broadcast station partners these gold-standard premiere brands in both scripted and unscripted crime genre programming.”

Law & Order: SVU is from Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

More from Deadline

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.