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Criminal Minds Stars: Ladies Were Let Go "On a Whim," Gibson "Hopeful" on Contract Talks

Thomas Gibson, Criminal Minds Adam Rose/ABC Studios

Criminal Minds fans, you're gonna want to read this story.

Stars Thomas Gibson and Matthew Gray Gubler talked to reporters at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival today and were more than open about the impact of this year's backstage turmoil, not to mention the cast crisis that's currently ongoing. In case you haven't heard, CBS and Thomas Gibson appear to be at an impasse in negotiations to bring the show's lead character back for season seven.

Gibson brought us up-to-date on the talks—and jokingly suggested a certain infamous actor replace Hotch as BAU team leader:

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Q&A With Criminal Minds Star Thomas Gibson

Thomas, how are contract negotiations going—will Hotch be back next season?
I hope so, that's all I really can tell you. I am just hopeful we can work something out.

Are you getting close to finalizing something? Doesn't shooting begin next month?
That's what they tell me.

If, God forbid, Hotch leaves, who do you think should replace him in the division?
Charlie Sheen. He's free, you know.

Matthew Gray Gubler, Criminal Minds Cliff Lipson/CBS

Q&A With Criminal Minds Star Matthew Gray Gubler

Do you think that Hotch will be back next year?
I honestly have no idea, I hope so. I love Thomas, I think Hotch is important to the show, but I don't know, man. Hollywood is a strange place. I was raised as a real worker, you know, you get out and get a real job. In Hollywood it's all about negotiations and contracts, so I don't know how this will turn out. I hope he is back.

What will the show be like if Hotch doesn't come back? Who will take over as head of the division?
Emily, I think, would take over as the chief, or Joe Mantegna. I don't know, we do have a lot of characters. I don't know what they'd do. It would suck but they'd figure something out.

Coming from your background of "real workers," how did you adjust to Hollywood?
I am an eternal optimist. To me the fact that I get to entertain people is what matters the most to me. All I have ever wanted to do is entertain people and so I try not to think about that other part of it. I focus on the simplicity of it.

What do you think about Paget Brewster coming back after the contract/budget drama this year?
We lost her and A.J. Cook for no reason at all, on just on a whim, and that is sort of offensive to me because they're my friends, and they did a good job, and the fans liked them. At the same time I understand that we are all grownups and six years ago we signed contracts that said they could fire us. So while I don't like it, I think there are bigger things to worry about in life. Japan, for example had a huge [tsunami] and has a nuclear mess on its hands.

Did it cause tension on the set?
No, there's no tension, but it makes it harder because for six years we've functioned as a unit and then suddenly it's different. These are my best friends in life, these actors, so losing them changed everything. And so I'm so glad that the band is back together now. I hope that Thomas doesn't leave. I think Rachel [Nichols] will leave. Which is sad, she's a nice girl...it was a tough position she came into but like I said it's a strange situation, it's Hollywood. But I know that just because she's not on the show doesn't mean I won't talk to her, she's a friend and I know I'll speak with her on the weekends. All I know is we're going to try to keep on maintaining. The spirit on set is very jovial. I think because it's so dark we have to find things to laugh about.

Does that darkness ever overwhelm you? How do you deal with it?
Yes, I'm sort of a Method actor. We have a month off and during this month I turn back into my real self and I realize the 11 months of the year we film the show really affects my mind. The only way I know how to do something, as cheesy as it sounds, is to become that character and it affects me in a not so healthy way. It does kind of make me crazy. I am an optimist and I try to think that the light will always prevail in any situation, so it doesn't really make me sad about humanity because I think deep down everybody is full of love and light. But the show does get to you after a period of time, it has to. I know it got to Mandy Patinkin (who played Jason Gideon), too—very much so. To do a good job it really has to affect you.

What do you think of CBS' weird behavior in regard to the Criminal Minds cast? Do you think they should keep Hotch on the series? Hit the comments.

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