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A few weeks ago, veteran Criminal Minds executive producer Harry Bring revealed that Season 14 of the CBS series will be coming in September. At the time of that announcement, we learned that Season 14 would be a short one for the series, with only a 15-episode count. Since CBS took a while to come to a decision and since Criminal Minds didn't earn a full season order, speculation has been rampant that the series could be nearing the end. At TCA this weekend, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl revealed that Season 14 could have some extra episodes, after all. Here's what he said:
As scheduling evolves and we try to get more original episodes on air, we have to cut and paste and sometime trimming episodes on some of those shows to get more originals on the air. They possibly can get a couple of more episodes. It depends where they are in production, they will let us know when [we need to make that call].
Right now, Criminal Minds is already a part of CBS' fall schedule. If CBS were to simply air the 15 episodes it has ordered, the show would be ending earlier than the May ending dates most shows with the common 22-episode network order would have. Sometimes a network will use the timeslot of a show with a short order to introduce a new series later in the season. However, sometimes a network will ultimately end up adding episodes to a series, which seems to be what Kelly Kahl is stating could very well happen with Criminal Minds this season.
Upping episode count wouldn't be wholly unexpected. It, in fact, often happens with first season shows. A network will sign on for a set number of episodes and then will add on if the program is popular. As an aging show, CBS knows that Criminal Minds has a built-in audience, yet it is waning in popularity as it ages, as well. Fewer episodes means a less costly series, as well. Still, whether or not Criminal Minds ends up getting a full episode order in Season 14, Kelly Kahl was also unwilling to say at TCA (via Deadline) that Season 14 will be the last for the series.
I'm not saying this is the last season, We will have an honest discussion with them at the right time.
If Criminal Minds were to continue beyond Season 14, a new deal would need to be struck with the cast. At this point the series is one of the longest-running scripted shows on television, but the cast has changed a lot during recent seasons. Thomas Gibson was fired. Paget Brewster returned to the series. Shemar Moore left the series, although guest stints have been a thing. New characters were brought in. Then, Season 13 ended on a crazy cliffhanger. It's unclear where the CBS series will go in the new season, but we'll be sure to keep you updated all the way. Criminal Minds returns to the schedule on Wednesday, October 3 at 10 p.m. ET, only on CBS.