‘Criminal Minds’ Has Fallen From Its CBS Flagship Status: Is Thomas Gibson’s Departure To Blame?

Criminal Minds has been one of CBS’s most profitable shows. Now with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore leaving the show at virtually the same time and the hostile events surrounding Gibson’s departure, the flagship show’s ratings took a plunge, and things are not getting better.

Thomas Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds during the filming of the second episode, due to creative differences with Virgil Williams a co-executive producer and writer. News of this reached viewers before Season 12 aired. When added to the voluntary departure of Shemar Moore near the end of Season 11, it definitely spelled trouble for Season 12 of Criminal Minds.

Criminal Minds with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore saw stellar ratings in Season 10. There was an average of 14.32 million viewers for the season for the live plus seven days. That means within seven days of airing, 14.32 million people on average watched Criminal Minds each week. The live plus same day average was 9.83 according to Series Monitor. This was typical of Criminal Minds for the first 10 seasons.

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore’s departure has not marked Criminal Mind‘s end, but could it be the beginning of the end? For a show that premiered in 2005 with over 19 million viewers, it’s a pretty sad to discuss ratings below 8 million in Season 12. Ratings for this show have remained relatively consistent for years, but now there’s been a significant change.

Criminal Minds, even with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore experienced a slight dip in numbers during Season 11. Still with 12.76 million viewers for live plus seven days, and a 9.1 for live plus same day, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Kirsten Vangsness, and Matthew Gray Gubler were raking in big bucks for the networks.

The Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore days of Criminal Minds were also driving that 18 to 49 age group, with 2.14 million in Season 10. These ratings were typical for the past 10 years as well. In Season 11 The ratings for the coveted 18 to 49 average went down to 1.79 which is still good, and the trend of that year was an upswing in the last half of the season for the demographic. The third quarter was 1.90 for 18-49.

Criminal Minds ratings are way down for Season 12, without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, compared to previous years. Live plus seven days for the premiere was 8.92 million live and same day viewers and 1.9 million for the 18 to 49 age demographic. To compare the season premiere for Season 11 received 10.08 million viewers and a 2.0 for the demographic. There were 14 Million viewers total for seven days in Season 11 according to Series Monitor.

Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness
Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness of Criminal Minds [Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]

Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 2, Thomas Gibson’s last, showed 7.62 and 1.4 according to Spotted Ratings. Season 11 Episode 2 shows 9.08 and 1.7. Season 12 Episode 7 attracted only 7.44 million viewers and a 1.4 for viewers between 18 and 49 years old. Season 11 Episode 7 showed 8.51 and 1.6 according to Series Monitor.

Criminal Minds’ viewership isn’t all about The United States either. In the days of Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, ratings for the show in Europe were exciting news.

Criminal Minds was named the fourth most profitable show in Europe in 2013, with earnings of $161.8 million dollars according to Criminal Minds Round Table. Disney owns the rights to Criminal Minds outside the United States. ABC Studios, which also belongs to Disney and produces the show, while CBS airs it in the United States. Yes, mergers can make everything confusing, including who to blame when things go wrong, but ABC Studios officially fired Thomas Gibson.

Thomas Gibson fans went ballistic when Gibson was fired from Criminal Minds. They set up a protest on Twitter called #NoHotchNoWatch, but they have dozens of hashtags, all very active, but especially on Wednesday nights when they tweet in protest instead of watching Criminal Minds.

Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds
Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds [Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]

Now #NoHotchNoWatch, a protest hashtag for Thomas Gibson, has European and Asian members as well as American ones. The group remains cohesive and determined, and with good reason. Even if Criminal Minds fans aren’t especially attached to Gibson, the damage done to the show by firing him could eventually kill the show, and millions of viewers don’t want that. They want the show to return Thomas Gibson.

Criminal Minds ratings are down significantly without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore. Not only are official #NoHotchNoWatch protesters angry, obviously it takes a sort of silent majority, not watching simply because they don’t like the show anymore to make this kind of impression on ratings. There are probably not millions of people on Twitter participating in NoHotchNo watch, though there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands checking it on Wednesday night protests.

Criminal Minds without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore has lost millions of viewers. Still, Criminal Minds is doing a lot better than most network television programs. Criminal Minds ranks as No. 28 for the age range 18-24 of all programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, and Cable according to Spotted Ratings. There are 86 shows listed below Criminal Minds for a total of 114 shows listed.

Criminal Minds has been netting hundreds of millions of dollars, over the past 11 years, for both CBS and by proxy, ABC through Disney. Remember, Criminal Minds airs all over the world, including Asia so the show has enjoyed fans from many diverse places.


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Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Adam Rodriguez, And Joe Mantegna: The Men of ‘Criminal Minds’

Even without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, Criminal Minds ratings are not that bad compared with the majority of other shows. The difference is they used to be great. Can CBS and ABC decide that losing a few million viewers isn’t important?

Criminal Minds, most experts agree, will be renewed even without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore, but at what cost. Why settle for mediocre ratings when Criminal Minds has the potential to be a top rated show? After 11 years on top, why accept such a deep cut when there is such an easy fix?

Criminal Minds with Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore was one of the highest rated shows on TV, but it is slipping into mediocrity without Gibson and Moore.

[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown]