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Supernatural: Jensen Ackles Explains Why Season 14 Will Be Shorter

It's all about keeping Jared and Jensen sane and happy

Tim Surette

One of the absolute worst things to ever happen in the history of television is The CW pulling back on the length of Supernatural's Season 14 episode count. Yes, Season 14 will be the shortest season of Supernatural not trimmed by a writers' strike: It will be just 20 episodes, instead of the usual 22 or 23 hours. Hogwash.

But there's a reason for the shorter order, and it's all about keeping its handsome stars, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, happy. Ackles explained why we're getting less Supernatural next season.

"When Jared and I sit down and we talk about, 'Do we want to do this? Do we want to continue to do this?' It's not about the things that it's usually about when these kinds of conversations come up," Ackles told TV Line. "[It's not] 'I want more money' or 'I want a bigger trailer' or 'I want this or that.' The conversation is quality of life. We both have families, it's more about how can we make our work-life balance a little better. And shaving a couple of episodes off gives us almost an extra month out of our year, which when you only get about a two-and-half-month hiatus, it goes by really quickly."

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WHAT? YOU WANT -- OK, actually that's a pretty good reason. Look, these guys have given us 287 episodes of the series over its 13-season run so far. Ackles was in his late 20s when he started playing Dean, and now he's the big 4-0, has a wife and is the father to three children. Everyone knows the show lives and dies with Ackles and Padalecki, and no actors have been more loyal to their show than these guys. In a time when actors on series jump ship to work on other projects at the first opening, Jared and Jensen have stayed put. I think they deserve a little extra time to have actual lives, and apparently The CW agrees, because this isn't a normal deal that's made in TV.

But Ackles does give fans hope that we could get some extra Supernatural. With the extra time off each season, Ackles hints that it could help them keep the show going for "several more years." Sounds like a fair trade.

Supernatural returns Oct. 11 on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)