Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni will not return for Season 13 of Law & Order: SVU, TVLine.com reports.

Contract negotiations for Meloni — who has portrayed Detective Elliot Stabler opposite Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson since SVU's 1999 premiere — fell through this week, with series creator Dick Wolf already on the hunt for a new star to replace him.

Report: Jennifer Love Hewitt Eyed as New SVU Lead as Mariska Hargitay Signs Deal to Return

In a conference call with reporters last week, NBC chief Robert Greenblatt sounded confident that Meloni would close his deal to return.

Hargitay recently renewed her contract, with the caveat that her workload be scaled back. At midseason, her character will be promoted to a supervisor position, during which a new female detective will take her place. Jennifer Love Hewitt, who earned raves for her guest spot as a rape victim on SVU earlier this season, is being eyed to replace her.

Will you miss Meloni on SVU?