Criminal Minds has been one of CBS’ longest running crime dramas, as it is about to conclude its’ eighth season later this month. While many of the stars have reportedly signed deals that would ensure the renewal for Season 9 for the 2013-2014 TV season, at least two of the regulars are playing hardball with network executives, citing unfairness in the poor treatment of female cast members.
This is not a new issue when it comes to ABC Studios and CBS, especially as it relates to the cast and crew of Criminal Minds. Back in 2010, Deadline reported that the series cut A.J. Cook (Jennifer Jereau) and reduced the number of episodes in which Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) appeared, leaving Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia) as the only female cast regular. Due to overwhelming fan support, Cook and Brewster were reinstated. This time, however, things may get a bit uglier in negotiations, as final offers have already been extended, to which Cook and Vangsness have reportedly turned down, as they are sticking to their guns that female cast members need to be treated more fairly and that their salaries are much closer to those of the male actors on the show.
The clock is ticking, as the network wants the negotiations to conclude by the end of the day on Tuesday in order to announce whether or not the series will be renewed. Last week, the network announced that showrunner Erica Messer would return, leading many to speculate that the show would certainly return for a ninth season. It is also being reported that two of the leads, Thomas Gibson (Aaron Hotchner) and Joe Mantegna (David Rossi), are close to agreeing to new deals, while Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) is rumored to be deep in negotiations, although the two sides are reportedly not close on the financial terms.
While Gibson, Mantegna and Moore could all return, along with Matthew Gray Gubler (Spender Reid) and Jeanne Triplehorn (Alex Blake) – who are not up for new deals – may return for a ninth season, they may be doing so without Cook and Vangsness, who are standing firm against a network who consistently continues to pay its’ female cast members less than half of its’ male counterparts.
Unless ABC Studios, CBS and Criminal Minds decide that it is finally time to show some parity and fair treatment to their female actors, the show may still return for another season in September, but it may be doing so with at least two fewer stars, which will undoubtedly anger many of the show’s loyal fans.
Especially, a few of the male fans, who may pay a little closer attention to episodes which feature Cook.