EXCLUSIVE: Paget Brewster will continue on CBS’ crime drama Criminal Minds next season, while new series regular Rachel Nichols won’t return. Meanwhile, co-star Thomas Gibson still doesn’t have a deal for next season, with negotiations ongoing.
I hear CBS and series’ producer ABC Studios have exercised the option they have on Brewster and opted not to pick up Nichols. As part of Brewster’s modified deal for Criminal Minds last season, which included her doing fewer episodes, she got an out to do a pilot. Brewster used the opportunity and did a pilot, NBC’s comedy My Life as an Experiment, which didn’t make the cut to series. Bewster’s pilot was in first position to Criminal Minds but ABC Studios had an option to bring the actress back to the CBS drama if the pilot didn’t go to series and has now exercised that option. With Brewster and original cast member and fan favorite A.J. Cook returning to the crime drama alongside Kirsten Vangsness, there wasn’t much room left for Nichols, whose character Ashley Seaver was introduced last season in part to fill the void left by the departure of Cook’s JJ. As for Gibson, I hear Criminal Minds producers want him back. He got warm reception by international buyers at the L.A. Screenings this week where he appeared with other cast members of the veteran CBS crime drama. Co-star Shemar Moore, whose deal was also up at the end of this season, signed a new one earlier this month.