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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans can exhale. The veteran drama will return for a 16th season.

NBC Wednesday announced the renewal of SVU, which stars Mariska Hargitay. Dick Wolf is the executive producer.

In USA TODAY's 17th annual Save Our Shows poll, fans ranked the police procedural drama as the "bubble" show they most wanted to see return. It edged another NBC series, Parenthood.

The future of SVU, which runs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, had been uncertain because of a contractual standoff between NBC and Wolf. The show still performs solidly, averaging 8.4 million viewers, a 16% increase over last season.

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