Joe Mantegna is sure "it isn't a matter of whether" his series "Criminal Minds" will be renewed, but when, and under what terms.
This week, the veteran stage and screen actor is wrapping up filming Season 8 of the typically dark CBS crime drama with night shoots. The two-hour finale that airs Wednesday, May 22, marks a critical showdown with the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit's enemy known as the Replicator ... but Mantegna considers another challenge the show is facing to be less life-or-death.
"We all feel very good, very confident" about the Season 9 order that hasn't come yet, he tells Zap2it. "I don't even feel there's any doubt that we'll get picked up. I think it's all been logistics, because so many contracts are up this season. Out of the seven actors, five of our contracts are up. And all of the writers' contracts, and the show runner's.
"This is the first time they've had to deal en masse with [renegotiating with] that many people. What's going on now are the conversations between CBS and ABC, because our show is co-produced by those two networks. I think it's, in a way, a matter of them ironing out who's paying for what. I have every confidence they will, because every indication is that this show is a valuable commodity to both."
Mantegna also is getting ready to reunite with longtime friend Gary Sinise ( "CSI: NY") to co-host PBS' telecast of the 24th annual National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 26. As he does, he notes the energy needed to make a two-hour "Criminal Minds" is "not much different" from any two one-hour episodes,
"We still run it the same way we do normally," Mantegna explains. "It's just a matter of doing [the season's] Episode 23, then Episode 24, knowing that 24 is going to run the same night as 23. We don't really do anything unique that way.
"The only thing that might change is that we'd shoot a scene for that last hour during the week we'd normally do the preceding hour. Just because of locations and logistics, it's easier to do that -- but they really keep that to a minimum, so that there's a logical progression. It doesn't really affect us at all to do a two-hour."
Photo/Video credit: CBS