While it looked touch-and-go there for a while, many fans will be pleased to know that Criminal Minds will head into season 7 with Thomas Gibson after all. Following a lengthy negotiation process, the star has agreed to continue his role as Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner for at least two more seasons.
According to Deadline, the deal was reached a scant two weeks before shooting was scheduled to begin on season 7 of CBS’ highly-rated crime drama. And it now appears the show’s production will be able to begin on schedule.
The process to renegotiate Gibson’s contract ran far later than anyone had anticipated – cutting it so close as to leave the Criminal Minds writing staff wondering whether they would be writing Hotchner into the upcoming season at all. Now that Gibson’s return is no longer in question, it will be interesting to see how the delay will affect the new season’s initial storylines.
As talks between the two sides dragged on – reaching a standstill last week – many began to wonder what it was that Gibson and the show’s producers were unable to see eye-to-eye on. Gibson no doubt felt that his being a star on the show since it began in 2005 entitled him to more robust compensation, while the show’s producers had used ‘cutting costs’ and ‘high salaries’ to excuse the untimely exits of some key cast members in the past.
Perhaps the strained negotiations were worth it after all. For Gibson, his two-year deal turned out to be a pretty sweet one – rumored to be somewhere in the mid-to-high seven figures; reportedly earning the actor more than twice his previous salary. For the show’s producers, the deal likely saved the shows ratings, after many fans threatened to stop watching Criminal Minds should Gibson depart.
Despite the hubbub that surrounded the talks, Gibson – and his co-star Joe Mantegna – never seemed to lose their cool. Gibson managed to maintain a presence with the show even in the absence of a new contract, by meeting with investors eager to bring the American program overseas, and presenting at CBS’ upfronts last month.
Meanwhile, just last week, Mantegna (David Rossi) nonchalantly addressed Gibson’s predicament by saying, “I feel confident about it… that they’ll work it out. It’ll all be what it’ll be.”
Hopefully Mantegna will be as cool and collected when it comes time to negotiate his contract.
Now that ‘Hotch’ will officially stay on to welcome back returning cast members A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster, Criminal Minds can put the casting issues that have previously plagued the series behind them…for the time being, anyway.
Criminal Minds returns this fall, Wednesdays @9pm on CBS.