‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 23 Premiere Leads Thursday Night As Most-Watched Program

by Leanne Stahulak

Season 23 of “Law & Order: SVU” premiered last night, and more watchers tuned in to watch the NBC crime drama than any other primetime program.

According to Deadline, “Law & Order: SVU” led the viewership race with 5.5 million viewers for its two-hour premiere. Fox’s hit reality show “The Masked Singer” came in behind it with 4.37 million viewers, followed closely by Christopher Meloni’s spin-off series”Law & Order: Organized Crime” at 4.32 million.

We’re not surprised that the successful spin-off did so well last night. What is surprising is that it did so well for premiering at the latest time slot, 10 p.m. EST. More than twice the number of viewers tuned into “Organized Crime” than any other show on at that late hour. Though, the NBC show only received a 0.6 demo rating from 18-49-year-olds.

“The Masked Singer” led the night in terms of demo ratings, with 0.9. “Law & Order: SVU” trailed it closely with 0.8, tied with CBS’s “Big Brother.” Although, “Big Brother” didn’t have nearly the same viewership numbers as “SVU,” with more than two million fewer people watching.

Per Deadline’s numbers, the “SVU” Season 23 premiere boosted its viewership numbers by 47% and its demo rating by 0.2 compared to the Season 22 premiere in November 2020. On the flip side, “Organized Crime”‘s demo rating dropped a startling 0.9 in rating and 40% in viewership compared to its April 2021 Season 1 debut.

Hopefully, with “Law & Order: SVU” going back to one hour, “Organized Crime” will get bumped up from 10.m. to 9 p.m. EST. More people will likely tune in to the show at that time than so late in the evening.

How ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Wrote Mariska Hargitay’s Leg Injury into the Show

Earlier this summer, “Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay suffered a serious fall. It cost her a broken knee, a hairline fracture in her ankle, and a torn ligament. She hobbled around on crutches and a boot for most of the summer, including while filming the new season of the show. So, how exactly did they explain Olivia Benson’s new injury?

The show addressed it right away in the Season 23 premiere. While driving home, Benson has her old friend and partner Elliot Stabler on speakerphone. While she’s talking to him, an aggressive driver behind her flashes his brights at her. Stabler tells Benson to pull over and let the driver past, but the driver beats her to it.

As she’s going to move over, the reckless drive sideswipes her, sending Benson’s car off the road. Benson receives a fractured ankle, which she has to deal with throughout the rest of the episode (and probably into the season).

Luckily, Hargitay’s recovered now. She posted a hilarious photo of her and Elliot Stabler actor Chris Meloni to celebrate finally getting her boot off.