The Big Picture

  • CBS follows NBC’s lead, reducing episodes for series regulars on
    FBI: Most Wanted
    to cut costs to keep shows on air.
  • Cast members on the series will now appear in 20 out of 22 guaranteed episodes in the upcoming season.
  • The cost-cutting measure does not affect the third series,
    FBI: International

The changing economics of television have caught up with FBI and FBI: Most Wanted. In a move similar to what NBC did with One Chicago, CBS will cut episodes for their series regulars in the shows in the upcoming season. Deadline reports that every cast member billed as a series regular will have their contractually guaranteed episode reduced by two. If the season produces the regular 22 episodes, they are guaranteed to appear in 20. The move is a cost-cutting measure that aims to keep the shows in the air. The third series, FBI: International, remains unaffected by this change.

Different networks and shows have been utilizing various methods to keep production costs as low as possible, including reducing salaries and episodes or having series regulars appear in fewer episodes. The cast of Blue Bloods, Bob Hearts Abishola, and Superman & Lois agreed to a pay cut to give their shows one final season. The Dick Wolf-produced One Chicago opted to cycle through series regulars. In the current television season, Once Chicago focuses on one regular per episode, and others offer support for the character. Some, however, don’t have arcs for one or several episodes, which has affected the shows. While reducing the number of episodes for the two FBI shows will have an impact on the story and remuneration for the actors, it could have been worse.

Why ‘FBI’ and ‘FBI: Most Wanted’ Were Affected

FBI and FBI: Most Wanted were affected by this because they have the most series regulars. The shows have been on the air for quite a while and feature big names like Missy Peregrym and Jeremy Sisto. This makes them much more expensive. Finally, they all film in the United States, which increases costs significantly. FBI: International has lost two series regulars as Heida Reed exited earlier in the season, and Luke Kleintank is not returning. Having fewer series regulars has improved the show’s economics. Another advantage it has is that it is filmed in Hungary with many actors who are not American. All these factors allow production to keep costs low, so it won’t be affected by the changes.

CBS has renewed the franchise for one season each, but the flagship series, FBI, was renewed for an extra two. On average, each show is watched by 7 million live viewers, with FBI leading the pack with 9 million average episodic viewers. The shows will wrap up their current seasons next week as the FBI team revisits a storyline from earlier in the season while The Fly Team tracks down their missing leader.

Tune in to FBI Tuesdays next week from 8 PM on CBS for the season finales. Catch up on past seasons on Paramount+.

FBI TV Show Poster


Release Date
September 25, 2018

Missy Peregrym , Zeeko Zaki , Jeremy Sisto , Alana de la Garza

Main Genre


Watch on Paramount+

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