Beloved cast members and O.G.’s of Criminal Minds Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook recently completed a holdout on their contracts for the show. After their co-stars Joe Matenga and Matthew Gray Gubler signed their contracts for the fall, the two female actresses held out for salary parity, and they just won.
The two leading ladies waited until an agreement was made that they each make the same as their male co-stars, much like the final two seasons of Friends, where each of the main six cast members was making $1 million an episode. You would think that after that, TV would understand that gender doesn’t matter when everyone is doing the same work. But the world doesn’t even understand that yet, let alone the TV industry, so one step at a time, I guess.
At least Criminal Minds is moving in the right direction. Heading into Season 13, Vangsness and Cook will work for the same salary as their peers. Casting tends to be a very political business, especially in longstanding shows and especially on large networks like CBS. It can get messy, like last season, when Damon Gupton was let go from the show after less than a whole season. But messy shouldn’t mean inefficient, and for two women who have been series regulars for almost 13 years, there’s no excuse not to treat them better than the politics.
Deadline reports that in 2013, the two held out for the same salary parity issue with the show, but “back then, Vangsness and Cook eventually reached new agreements, securing salary increases but not able to achieve parity… This time, they were willing to walk for the cause.”
Good for you, ladies! Just the kind of equal pay feel-good story I like to hear. Season 13 of Criminal Minds starts this fall on CBS.