‘FBI’ Executive Producer Reveals Why the Show Is ‘Stacking’ Episodes This Season

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Michael Parmelee/CBS via Getty Images)

New seasons of FBI and FBI: Most Wanted premier on Tuesday, September 21st. And the crime dramas are bringing along a new spinoff, FBI: International. The shows will debut in a heart-pumping three-hour crossover. Tuesdays nights on CBS will remain entirely dedicated to the franchise.

In an interview with Deadline, executive producer Dick Wolf explained why he’s stacking the spinoffs this year. 

Dick Wolf explained that people enjoy binge-watching their favorite shows. And all the streaming platforms prove that’s true. We like focusing on one plot at a time. So, stacking series with flowing stories lines and intermixing characters in crossover events is a clever way to earn more viewers.

“We know this works, that there are certain dynamics that are just true when you stack these shows,” Wolf said. “You can look at research that tells you that everybody talks about binges, and people bingeing a series and watching (a season) in three nights.”

This theory has also been proven true with other successful TV franchises like NCIS, CSI, and Chicago. In fact, NCIS is moving to Monday nights so it can be closer to its newest spinoff, NCIS: Hawai’i. And as Wolf points out, the FBI shows work perfectly because three is a magic number.

“These are streaming series where the average order is 8, and you can get through a whole bunch of episodes.  But the average binge is three hours,” he told Deadline. “That seems to be where people are most comfortable if they’re going to sit down and watch something. And after 40 years of doing this, the one thing I know is that if you set the table correctly for an American television audience, they’ll stay.”

FBI and FBI:Most Wanted Gain a New Spinoff

CBS viewers love the FBI franchise, so producers are giving them more of what they want. In May, the network ordered a third spinoff, FBI: International. The new show will kick off during a three-hour cross-over special on September 21st.

Producer Dick Wolf’s first try at a spinoff happened last year when he introduced Most Wanted. The show quickly gained a fanbase almost as large as its predecessor. By the end of the first season, it was already averaging nearly 9 million viewers a week. FBI brings in around 11 million. So Wolf decided to keep expanding. 

FBI is the fastest growing brand on television and our partner Dick Wolf has found yet another creative way to expand its universe,” Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment told Deadline. “FBI: International is an intriguing and distinct drama that perfectly complements its compelling siblings, FBI and FBI: Most Wanted, creating an enviable triple-threat for next season that will fit seamlessly across our network lineup.”

The new series will follow operatives who are headquartered in Budapest. The team will take missions all over the country to protect US citizens from outside threats.