Jensen Ackles explains why Supernatural season 14 has a reduced episode count. Supernatural is one of the longest-running dramas on television, and it's the only show on The CW that carried over from when the network was originally just The WB. And considering that the series doesn't show any signs of slowing down, who knows how long it will go on for.
Although Supernatural has been around for a long time, its viewership has remained somewhat steady over the years, which is why The CW recently gave the series a season 14 renewal. But what came as a shock to longtime fans was that the new season would have a reduced episode count. Instead of being 22 or 23 episodes long, it would only have 20 episodes. It's not too much shorter, but it still breaks apart from the norm - and now fans know the reason for that decision.
In an interview with TV Line, Ackles explained that the shorter episode count had nothing to do with ratings but was more of a personal decision on the cast's part, he and his co-star Jared Padalecki have been wanting to spend more time with their families. And what's interesting, trimming the episode count by only a little actually makes a huge impact. He said: “Shaving a couple of episodes off gives us almost a extra month out of our year, which when you only get about a two-and-half-month hiatus, it goes really quickly.”
Considering the network that Supernatural airs on, it has always had a long, 23-episode season, whereas new shows are able to get by with only 13 episodes. While reducing the episode count may greatly effect their personal lives, it shouldn't matter much to the show's overarching story. In fact, it might make the seasons even better since there wouldn't be as much of a need to add in filler episodes between major events.
Given that The CW has found success in airing shorter seasons for shows like The 100, perhaps the upcoming season of Supernatural is a test to see if the show would still be as successful with fewer episodes. If it is, then that could potentially lead to even fewer episodes, eventually getting to the point where it has maybe only 16 episodes a season instead of 23. Supernatural could also be relegated to a midseason premiere instead of a fall premiere, which would give the cast a different filming schedule that may work out better for their families, but that's something fans will just have to wait and see.
Supernatural season 14 premieres Thursday, October 11 on The CW.