Over the past three Mays of covering the entertainment industry, I have never quite come across the same amount of perennial cast upheaval as seen with Criminal Minds. The past two years were more about Paget Brewster amidst fringe contract negotiations, but now we are seeing more drama with the core cast and this time A.J. Cook’s J.J. is back on the chopping block.
Here is the deal coming out of the trades Monday night. There are final offers submitted to the group of Thomas Gibson (Hotchner,) Joe Mantegna (Rossi,) Shemar Moore (Derek,) Kirsten Vangsness (Garcia) and A.J. Cook for season nine. These are merely labelled ‘final offers’ though as Moore seems to be in negotiations at the moment with Vangsness and Cook still in talks as well.
The Derek-player will likely come through as will Gibson and Mantegna as they are paid relatively well. It is Vangsness and Cook though who seem to be wild cards. The two supporting stars, while on the periphery of most the action, are said to be negotiating together in order to get a higher pay day. Cook has been through this before and was actually bounced from the show at one point before fan demand brought her back, but this is the first time Vangsness has been in on such a gamble.
Guessing on whether they could ultimately come back is tricky though. While both are integral components to the ensemble, it is very important to keep costs low as ratings continue to sag. We know that Big Love’s Jeanne Tripplehorn commands a healthy 6-figure per episode salary despite being a first-year entrant to the program and that might hurt producing company ABC Studios in terms of their position with how much money they could get away with spending on ‘non-essentials.’