NBC renews 'Law & Order: SVU'

Series will return for 11th season; still no deals with stars

NBC has renewed "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

After lengthy talks, the network has closed a deal with Wolf Films to bring the veteran crime drama back for an 11th season.

However, the two stars of the show, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, still have no deals to return.

The two, who regularly negotiate their contracts together, only started talks with the network last week.

After a tough back-and-forth in 2007, Emmy winner Hargitay and Meloni inked rich two-year deals that brought their paychecks up to about $350,000 an episode.

But as the networks are trimming costs because of the recession and slipping primetime ratings, with NBC in the forefront of the budget cuts, getting raises will be much more difficult this time around.

On the other hand, Hargitay and Meloni are the two stars of the show, and it's hard to imagine "SVU" continuing without both of them.

Crime procedurals have showed resilience after losing a lead actor -- most recently with CBS' "SCI: Crime Scene Investigation" subbing departing William Petersen with Laurence Fishburne -- but it's much more difficult for an established show to survive the loss of both its female and male stars.