Beginning in 2005, millions of TV viewers dutifully tuned in each week to CBS"s juggernaut of a crime drama, Criminal Minds.

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 The display followed the high-stakes occupational of the FBI"s Behavior analysis Unit, a committed group of regulation enforcement and psychology all-stars that profile, monitor down, and also stop the worst of the worst poor guys, or "unsubs" (short for "unknown subjects"). Why so popular? Well, it"s always satisfying to check out the constant triumph of an excellent over evil, embodied by hard-working, ethically upright investigators such together Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), and also Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).

But that"s everywhere now. In February 2020, Criminal Minds came to an finish after 15 periods and much more than 300 episodes. Why would the network to speak goodbye come this tho popular, quiet engaging, still influential hit? It"s acquired its reasons, baby girl.


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It"s usually fairly easy come tell simply how an useful a present is to a network by how conveniently its executives ask the show"s producer for one more round the episodes. Because that example, NBC"s Will & Grace renewal did therefore well throughout its an initial season (2017–18) the the network renewed that for periods two and three prior to that very first season had concluded. Conversely, last-minute re-ups normally indicate a network that"s wishy-washy ~ above its decision, meaning a display is likely gaining ready to be canceled. Deadline reported in might 2018 the the Criminal Minds regeneration for season 14 "came under to the wire" as network and also studio hashed out negotiations. 


Another sign of dwindling network interest: smaller sized episode counts. The variety of Criminal Minds season 14 illustration wasn"t at first revealed, yet CBS eventually decided on 15, much less than the typical order that 22. The final season was even much shorter — simply ten installments. 


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This point in time is something of a crossroads for CBS. The network just could be looking ahead to the future and also a brand-new era of programming. No only did it shed its highest-rated comedy with The large Bang Theory coming come an finish in the feather of 2019, yet a huge chunk that the network"s primetime programming is decidedly lengthy in the tooth. Blue Bloods, large Brother, Survivor, NCIS, and NCIS: Los Angeles have all hit at least ten seasons. Proactively losing one more of its ancient, flagship reflects in Criminal Minds signals a brand-new start for the Eye.


It may also represent a symbolic break with the CBS the yore, the one controlled by disgraced CBS coporation, group chairman and CEO Les Moonves. The veteran broadcast executive resigned his post in September 2018 amid a slew of sex-related misconduct allegations. CBS"s brand-new leaders simply may want to have actually anything Moonves approved off the waiting as soon as possible.


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Most any type of job is stressful, consisting of making television. Criminal Minds to be plagued by more than its re-publishing of ugly and also embarrassing scandals over the years. Original actors member (and may be the show"s command actor) thomas Gibson obtained himself fired in 2016 ~ 11 periods playing Aaron Hotchner when a heated discussion with writer/producer Virgil Williams escalated right into the actor kicking Williams. In 2010, Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss) and also A.J. Chef (J.J.) to be ostensibly fired early out to budget plan cuts. 


Brewster later told the A.V. Club what actually happened — a CBS executive referred to as then-showrunner Edward Allen Bernero through an stimulate to change the fired actresses through younger ones. Bernero at some point quit, and Brewster and Cook ultimately returned come the show. Those events — amongst others — can have very well played into CBS"s decision to throw its proverbial arms up in the air when Criminal Minds was lastly canceled. Who desires a workplace that"s much more than occasionally complete of this type of weirdness and also generally poor stuff?


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Numerous Criminal Minds cast members have actually moved on and also CBS is obviously prepared to do the same. It would seem that the main an imaginative force behind the crime procedural is ready to try brand-new things in a brand-new environment. Alphabet Studios, a division of the ABC television network, to produce Criminal Minds, and also CBS payment a many money because that the privilege that airing it. In 2017, alphabet struck a large deal v Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer. The network currently funds her own boutique imprint, Erica Messer Productions, from which she develops brand-new TV drama series. 


Messer knows an excellent television — prior to Criminal Minds, she operated on Party of Five, Alias, and Charmed. It would be hard to save a display on CBS as soon as the showrunner has a rewarding deal at a production agency owned by a rival network. Abc would more than likely prefer to keep its talent in-house, and also have Messer develop shows specifically for networks in the alphabet family. In 2019, the network announced the two new dramas from Messer"s camp to be In the works: Best retained Secret and Nightingale.


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Broadcast networks aren"t like streaming services. While Netflix and also Hulu can host a seemingly infinite number of options, networks are constrained by time. CBS"s night schedule consists of three hrs of programming every night the the week, and also four ~ above Sundays. That"s only 22 total hours of TV, and even within that restricted amount the space, over there isn"t much turnaround. Stalwarts favor 60 Minutes and various iterations that NCIS aren"t walking anywhere, for this reason the Eye Network doesn"t have actually the bandwidth come launch many brand-new series every fall. Canceling a fading display like Criminal Minds frees increase a priceless hour of room in the schedule.


That"s some room that CBS yes, really needs. The last season that Criminal Minds aired for only 10 weeks, and also then acquired out the the means to permit a new show the possibility to construct a complying with (and earn the network some proclaiming revenue). There space plenty of shows awaiting the opportunity — CBS bespeak seven brand-new shows because that the 2019-2020 season.


Criminal Minds had been on the air because 2005, extending well over 300 episodes. That"s a staggeringly long and impressive run, and one that areas it amongst the many enduring network television series of all time. However, there are only so countless twisted murderers, demented cult leaders, and creepy kidnappers out there in the Criminal Mindsverse, and the show"s brave and dedicated law enforcement public official may have actually just about rounded up the last of them. In short, the display has merely run that course. Also the best series can and also eventually do run the end of concepts at part point, and having happen the 300 episode benchmark renders this a logical, understandable time to close up the Behavioral evaluation Unit. 


Not only has actually Criminal Minds" time come, yet it"s out of step with other regulation enforcement reflects on the air. Its reliable formula feels favor it came from another, bygone era the TV... Because, well, the did. Today"s crime series have gone in 2 directions: gritty, challenging, and artsy — such as True Detective or American Crime Story or safe and also comfortable reboots choose Magnum, P.I. Criminal Minds just didn"t loss into either camp.


A many of components play right into a network"s decision to finish a renowned series, however it almost always comes down to one huge X-factor: ratings. If enough people watch a show, a network can charge companies huge bucks come advertise their assets during that show. If the ratings stay high, the network earns a tidy benefit in advertisement revenue. Need to that pattern hold, a show could stay top top the wait indefinitely. Situation in point: 60 Minutes, still a major draw after an ext than 50 years on the air. But if ratings drop too much and/or also fast, well, there"s the door.


Criminal Minds" most recent numbers space nowhere close to its highest possible levels. In the 2018-19 season, it inserted just external the top 40 most-watched shows on broadcast TV, pulling in an average of 8.22 million viewers. That"s a huge fall native the 2008-09 season, when Criminal Minds was the 11th-most-watched show top top TV. The number don"t justify CBS maintaining it roughly after following year.


The longer a display sticks around, the more expensive it is to produce. Actors deserve to earn much more money each time castle re-negotiate their contracts to stick around for a couple of more seasons. They"ve got producers in a tie — they sort of need to pay the gibbs what they desire so regarding keep a show"s audience-drawing cast intact. However, a show"s popularity and also ratings have tendency to normally slip over time, meaning the much longer a collection runs, it i do not care less rewarding due come declining ad rates and also increasing production costs. If it"s no longer financially precious it because that a network to continue in together a matter, they"ll reduced the dead load of an expensive, long-running show. 


For example, Criminal Minds ratings were i do not have anything near collection highs, however in 2017, original cast members Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook signed brand-new contracts and got considerable raises, ones that gave them value parity with well-paid co-star Matthew Gray Gubler. Every those incomes stick the end on the CBS ledger, and also couldn"t help but beat a component in the show being canceled.


Crime procedurals are supposed to it is in rock-solid, ultra-reliable TV institutions. Viewers mean these type of mirrors to it is in pretty much the very same thing, mainly in and also week out, inhabited by the same set of familiar faces for year on end. Criminal Minds didn"t adhere come those did not like rules, churning out an ext than 300 episodes regardless of sporting among the most active revolving doors in TV spreading history.


That absence of security tends to revolve off viewers, as Criminal Minds" downward-trending ratings over the critical decade would indicate. Mandy Patinkin (BAU chef Jason Gideon) left in 2007, cutting board Gibson (Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner) acquired terminated in 2016, Shemar Moore departed in 2016 and also moved on come S.W.A.T., and also Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook"s characters, Emily Prentiss and Jennifer Jareau, respectively, were composed out because that a spell. Other actors and also actresses that came and went from the BAU: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Damon Gupton, and Rachel Nichols.


Throughout the 1990s and into the at an early stage 2000s, CBS acquired into a nostalgia habit, consistently airing two-hour-long, made-for-TV renewal movies of few of its most famous crime, cop, and secret shows of yesteryear. Viewers gained the chance to clock one or two more exciting adventures special well-known personalities from Simon & Simon, Diagnosis Murder, Cagney & Lacey, and also Murder, She Wrote.

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Producing and broadcasting together projects prospered dormant at CBS, but the idea just can make a comeback with Criminal Minds.


In advance of the series finale, Parade request Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer if the storyline allowed for the opportunity of a TV movie. "You don"t shut down the BAU. Can"t perform that," she said. "And it to be that interesting thing of having to please so many civilization at the end of this show, wherein it"s like, "Well, don"t end it forever and also ever due to the fact that what if it might have an additional life elsewhere?""