Perhaps Law & Order‘s classic "chung chung" should be changed to "ka-ching!" SVU stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni have just re-upped their contracts — after a long negotiation with NBC brass — for at least another two seasons at the rate of $330,000 per episode, or roughly $6.5 million each. Though it’s paltry compared to Friends/Frasier/Raymond moolah, the new deal is enough to make new mom Hargitay (pictured) the highest-paid actress on television, topping The Closer star Kyra Sedgwick. (Meloni still trails Charlie Sheen, who gets paid approximately $350,000 an episode for Two and a Half Men.)
Apparently, TPTB briefly flirted with the idea of replacing the two increasing expensive stars, so I’m just glad NBC came to their senses and ponied up the cash. Benson and Stabler ARE SVU — unlike the original L&O, the Special Victims crew always get way too emotionally invested in their cases and thus, we become way too invested in their (sigh, fictional) lives. Plus, Hargitay and Meloni (heck, the entire SVU cast) attend EW’s Oscar Party in Manhattan every year and play nice, so kudos to them.
But this is all coming from a die-hard SVU fan who can watch re-runs on the USA network all day. Given how small NBC’s average audience is these days, do you think Hargitay and Meloni are worth their new salaries? And who else is deserving (or undeserving) of their current TV deals?