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Why Hasn't Criminal Minds Been Renewed Yet?

What's behind the the holdup

Joyce Eng

"I had a dream last night that CM will get a S12 pickup this week," Criminal Minds co-executive producer Harry Bring tweeted on April 19. "I hope my dream comes true."

Over a week later, and that dream still hasn't come to fruition. The procedural, which will wrap up its 11th season May 4, was noticeably left off of CBS' early renewals for veteran shows -- days after Minds scored its highest ratings in 16 months with star Shemar Moore's departure.

In fact, Minds may not find out its fate until May 10, Bring tweeted, as the network negotiates a new licensing deal with ABC Studios, which co-produces the show. According to Deadline, the two parties are actively trying to work out a deal for next year. But "actively trying" and "renewed" are two entirely different things.

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While that might sound worrisome, it's nothing new for longtime fans, who have sat through this down-to-the-wire act before. This is the third time in the past four years that the series has had to sweat it out. Last year, Minds was renewed on May 11 -- with the bulk of CBS' returning lineup -- while the actors' contract were pending.

In 2013, it was also missing from CBS' early renewals, and didn't get a Season 9 pickup until May 9, after five of the actors finally closed deals following weeks of negotiations. In both those cases, the deal between CBS and ABC Studios had already been settled, paving the way for the pickups. Discussions this year have apparently been a little more complicated.

The reason? Old shows are expensive, hence all those "budget cuts" (sorry, Stana and Tamala); but things go a tad smoother if a show is fully owned and produced by a network, so it can keep costs in-house and reap all the benefits. Though Minds is very successful and remains one of CBS' top performers, ABC Studios is the one cashing in almost all the checks from international revenue. CBS would want a bigger piece of that pie.

Shemar Moore on his Criminal Minds exit: "I'm proud of the way things ended for Derek Morgan"

There's one new element possibly affecting the decision/causing the delay this year in particular. That's the show's spin-off, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which premiered a week before CBS handed out its renewals (the network hast not yet renewed any of its freshman shows). It's entirely possible the network has taken a wait-and-see approach for the decently performing Beyond Borders before deciding the fates of both shows, which are run by executive producer Erica Messer.


Messer, who spoke to TVGuide.com before CBS' early pickups, sounded hopeful about a Season 12. And the showrunner already has some ideas for another season -- not the least of which would be born out of the Season 11 cliff-hanger finale, the show's first since Season 5. "Fingers crossed it all works out and we get one," Messer said. "We've had to wait it out before, so we're used to it, but it's nice to know [early]. It's a lot of stuff that's out of your hands. Hopefully we'll hear soon."

Criminal Minds boss on Shemar Moore's exit: "There's no replacing Derek Morgan"

Meanwhile, Bring, who was 98 percent positive of a renewal a month ago, seems to be getting a wee bit impatient.

If history is any indication, negotiations might come down to the 11th hour again, but there's no reason yet to assume it won't work out for Minds, which is tied as CBS' fourth highest-rated show this season and is an important anchor for the network. (Beyond Borders could go either way, but CBS CEO Les Moonves said before the series premiere that the network would probably renew all five of its new shows.) It's not a shocker that Minds hasn't been renewed yet... But it would be if it's not after May 10. Fingers crossed, CM fans.
Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)