Erica Messer, the showrunner on the longstanding CBS drama 'Criminal Minds,' has just signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios to continue heading up the show. This is huge news for fans of the investigative series, as no official renewal for a ninth season of the show has come from CBS; the uncertainly of re-signing the principal cast as well as the potential need to replace Messer herself was slowly guiding 'Criminal Minds' to the chopping block. Now, with Messer locked in for two more years, could this grease the wheels of stunted negotiations and persuade the cast to sign new contracts?
Locking in Messer as showrunner has been absolutely critical to 'Criminal Minds' renewal--bringing in a new showrunner doesn't make much sense when a series is completing its eighth season. Principal cast members Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore, Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook each had their contracts expire with the close of season eight--without at least the majority of that list signing new deals following Messer, there won't be a ninth season of 'Criminal Minds.'
What has been holding up the actors' contracts, according to Deadline.com, was the uncertainty over the direction of the show for another season. Now with their familiar captain helming the ship, the only remaining obstacle is the one at the heart of every contract negotiation: money. It becomes a matter now of how valuable a ninth season of 'Criminal Minds' would be to CBS--and whether or not the series would be willing to proceed without a particular familiar face.
There is less than two weeks until CBS' upfront presentation, where it is expected that the majority of renewals will be announced. Unlike some other ensemble series, the cast of 'Criminal Minds' does not negotiate as a unit; it remains possible that some names could agree to a new deal and some could walk away. However there remains one final twist in this story: even if the cast fails to reach a new deal with CBS and CBS opts not to renew the show, 'Criminal Minds' could be picked up by ABC; it is being produced by ABC Studios and the company is reaping the financial syndication benefits already.
There are plenty of possibilities swirling around 'Criminal Minds,' thanks to Erica Messer. Are you hoping for a ninth season of this veteran show?