Criminal Minds is one step closer to a ninth season.
The CBS procedural's showrunner, Erica Messer, has signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios, which produces the series, TVGuide.com has confirmed.
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As part of the deal, Messer is expected to continue working on Criminal Minds. However, the show was one of the select few not renewed by CBS at the end of March, because there were not yet deals in place for Messer, or stars Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Kirsten Vangsness, Shemar Moore and A.J. Cook for the new season.
"We can confirm that Erica Messer has signed an overall deal with ABC Studios," an ABC representative tells TVGuide.com. "The negotiations for the show are ongoing, and, of course, contingent on CBS renewing the show."
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Messer's contract, which was first reported by Deadline, is expected to affect contract negotiations with the cast. Messer told TVGuide.com in an interview earlier this week that the show was likely to be back next year. "There are a lot of deals that need to be signed and that kind of thing, but I feel very strongly that we're coming back," she said. "It's not a matter of if, but when."
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(Additional reporting by Joyce Eng)