The guard is changing at Law & Order: SVU.
Law & Order veteran Rick Eid has been tapped to succeed Warren Leight as showrunner on the long-running NBC procedural, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Eid comes onboard as part of a new two-year overall with Universal Television, which produces SVU in association with prolific producer Dick Wolf’s banner, Wolf Films. The series was renewed for season 18 in February when NBC extended Wolf’s deal through 2020.
The gig reunites Wolf and Eid, who served as a co-executive producer on Law & Order from 2005 to 2007, as well as a supervising producer on Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Eid also co-created and exec produced Conviction, which Wolf produced. His other credits include Dark Blue, CSI and Hostages. Eid is repped by WME.
“I’m extremely pleased that Rick had decided to rejoin the family and hope that he will be here for years to come,” Wolf said Thursday in a statement.
Eid replaces Leight, who is leaving for an overall deal at Sony TV, which he signed in March 2015. Leight, also a familiar face in the Law & Order universe from his days as showrunner of Criminal Intent, has been at the helm of SVU for the past five seasons. During his tenure, the series has weathered several cast departures, most notably Christopher Meloni, as well as Dann Florek, Richard Belzer and Danny Pino, while also adding such new faces as Kelli Giddish and Peter Scanavino.
Leight has been credited with breathing new life, and improved ratings, into the aging series, thanks to more serialized storytelling and several successful crossovers with Wolf’s Chicago franchise. “There was a period where some of us might have felt underappreciated, but I think because of the fans holding on to this show, that period has passed,” Leight told THR in February.
Despite Eid’s several past collaborations with Wolf, the announcement is somewhat surprising. Julie Martin, Leight’s writing partner on episodes of the series and a fellow executive producer, was seen as another likely choice to take the reins as showrunner.
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.