There’s one man whose intentions master psych-detective Patrick Jane can’t quite figure out: CBS chief Les Moonves.
Sources tell EW that studio Warner Bros. is shopping a seventh season of The Mentalist to other networks just in case CBS doesn’t renew the show before its fall schedule presentation to advertisers next month. We’re hearing the studio has spoken to both broadcast and cable networks about picking up the drama, which is being pitched as a series with a creative fresh start due to its recent story reboot. One obvious potential landing place would be TNT, since it airs past seasons of the The Mentalist in syndication.
The Mentalist did a creative shakeup this season by having Jane (Simon Baker) finally confront and kill his longtime nemesis Red John. The story then made a two-year time jump and shifted the setting from Sacramento, Calif. to Austin, Texas. Yet after being relocated around the CBS schedule, eventually ending up on Sunday nights, the crime drama is having its softest season yet in the ratings (down 9 percent from last year to average 11.6 million viewers and a 2.1 among adults 18-49, including DVR playback). That’s better than some dramas that will return next season (such as CBS’ own The Good Wife), but shows get more expensive as they age due to talent deals, so the bar for a network renewal often creeps higher with each passing year.
Creator Bruno Heller tells me the show’s upcoming season finale is being written to potentially serve as a series closer as well as work as a set-up for a seventh season. “It will be a very pleasing and satisfying series finale if that’s what happens and if not its a very pleasing and satisfying precursor to a new season,” he says. “Obviously that’s the goal. Killing off Red John … turned out to be a brilliant idea and it loosened everybody up and gave us fresh legs and blue skies.”