Criminal Minds is currently airing its final season on CBS, but there is some good news that comes along with that bad news. Namely, the show started airing Season 15 back in January, to interesting results. In fact, it has actually seen its ratings either stay solid or even increase some weeks year over year, which makes me wonder: Is the Eye Network maybe regretting the decision to cancel the show?
What's Going On With Criminal Minds' Season 15 Ratings
The Season 15 premiere was up in total viewers from the Season 14 premiere. It’s a trend that has either stayed steady or continued in recent weeks, with last week’s episode again showing an increase. According to reports, last week’s Criminal Minds episode nabbed a .9 rating and 5.9 million viewers – which was the show’s highest numbers since an episode in 2018.
The Season 15 premiere was up in total viewers from the Season 14 premiere. It’s a trend that has either stayed steady or continued in recent weeks, with last week’s episode again showing an increase. According to reports, last week’s Criminal Minds episode nabbed a .9 rating and 5.9 million viewers – which was the show’s highest rating since an episode that aired back in 2018.
Look, shows are not usually cancelled when the ratings are going up, but there are some germane points worth noting here.
First and foremost, CBS had a Super Bowl ad special airing before Criminal Minds this past week. Per THR, that special did 7.15 million total viewers and a 1.0 rating, so it offered a really good lead-in for the long-running criminal procedural. Secondly, last week’s episode was a doozy of an episode, and CinemaBlend’s own Nick Venable thought something dire was going to happen to some of the characters.
It turned out to be a bit of a false alarm, but the point is the ratings this past week could be due to the episode in question being exciting plus this special that led into the big Criminal Minds episode. As for the ratings in general for Criminal Minds, the end is coming. Fans know the end is coming. Sometimes when we know something is ending there’s more of an impulse to tune in and see if something ends, and I hypothesize that might be happening a little with the CBS series right now.
For example, when CSI ended its long run on the same network with a two-hour movie, more than 12.2 million total viewers tuned in. At the time, the two-hour final movie was the highest rated episode in more than three years.
So, people may be interested simply because the show is ending. What I can confirm for sure is that Criminal Minds producer Harry Bring is at least a little sad about the cancellation, as he noted after the episode aired:
What We Can Learn From The Criminal Minds Ratings
Look, it’s always better to go out with a bang rather than a whimper and that's how I would personally like to look at the ratings uptick for this show. Criminal Minds has been on the air for 15 seasons. That’s a super long run and for much of that run the show featured a main core cast that audiences could identify with. In recent years actors like Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson either left (or were asked to leave), but in general, it’s been a nice, long run for the main cast. And many of the actors that have moved on easily found work elsewhere, thanks to building a reputation in many cases on this show.
The landscape of live TV has changed a lot since the CBS drama first hit the airwaves. People watch TV live a whole lot less and even being able to maintain the types of live numbers the show has managed over its run has been a feat. The show will leave behind an impressive number of episodes and a large fanbase in a time when TV viewership is increasingly fractioned out. Thus, I assume when Criminal Minds finally says goodbye to its audience there will be no regrets.
For now, catch the show on Wednesdays on CBS at 9 p.m. ET.
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