'Law & Order: SVU' Taps 'Chicago Justice' Exec Producer as Showrunner

Michael Chernuchin Headshot Publicity H 2016
Courtesy of Lippin Group

Law & Order: SVU has found its new showrunner.

Chicago Justice's Michael S. Chernuchin has signed on to take the helm for season 19 of the long-running drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

Chernuchin is the second new showrunner to come onboard SVU in as many years. Rick Eid served as showrunner for season 18, replacing longtime leader Warren Leight.

Eid exited SVU earlier this month to take over as showrunner of Chicago P.D. after co-creator Matt Olmstead left for a lucrative overall deal at ABC Studios.

"Whoever it is will hopefully be someone collaborative and excited to be part of the process," star Raul Esparza recently told THR when asked about the upcoming showrunner change.

The move is not surprising, given Chernuchin's long history working with prolific producer Dick Wolf. He wrote for Law & Order beginning in the show's first season and worked his way up from co-producer to executive producer and showrunner. Chernuchin left at the end of season six, but later returned in season 13. 

(Eid and current SVU executive producer Julie Martin also worked on the flagship series.)

Chernuchin's other credits include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 24, Black Sails, Rogue and, most recently, Chicago Justice. The fourth series in the Chicago franchise was recently canceled by NBC after one 13-episode season. Chernuchin is repped by Paradigm, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Jackoway Tyerman.

He tweeted about his addition to SVU late Thursday.

The Law & Order vet joins SVU as the drama inches closer to surpassing Gunsmoke as longest-running primetime scripted drama of all time. Law & Order came close, hitting 20 seasons before it was abruptly canceled one season short of breaking the record.

SVU already stands as the longest-running primetime drama currently on the air and celebrated its 400th episode in February.

Original series star Mariska Hargitay leads a cast that also includes Ice-T, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino and Esparza.

The Universal Television drama is exec produced by Wolf, Hargitay, Martin, Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney.

Law & Order: SVU returns in the fall to NBC for season 19.