Criminal Minds Hotch Leaves

Criminal Minds' Hotch Makes His Exit — Your Thoughts on the 'New Team'?

This Wednesday on CBS’ Criminal Minds, Aaron Hotcher was sent away on assignment for temporary duty — in a move that will eventually tee up original cast member Thomas Gibson’s permanent exit.

In Season 12’s third episode, titled “Taboo,” Hotchner was revealed to be on special assignment at the Director’s request. Arriving to help the team during his absence was BAU member turned Interpol unit chief Emily Prentiss. Once again reunited with JJ, Rossi et al — as well as meeting new addition Luke Alves — Prentiss assisted in the hunt for an escaped serial killer, on top of the BAU’s normal case load.

Though Hotchner’s absence was originally only to last an episode or two, to accommodate what was at the time Gibson’s suspension in the wake of an on-set altercation (described below), this week in fact marked the beginning of his permanent exit, since he was eventually fired. As such, Paget Brewster’s short-term return has been upgraded to full-time, while Damon Gupton (Bates Motel) will be introduced later this fall as Stephen Walker, a seasoned profiler who will bring his spy-hunting skills to the BAU.

According to Gibson’s recent account of the “kick” that ultimately found him terminated from the show he called home for more than 11 seasons, while filming the second episode of Season 12 in late July, he questioned a line of dialogue, but was overruled by co-executive producer/writer Virgil Williams. Later, when Gibson was relating the differing of opinions to castmates, Williams “came into that room and started coming towards me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg. If I hadn’t moved, he would have run into me,” the actor said.

Following that, “We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over,” Gibson said. “We shot the scene, I went home — and I never got to go back,” suspended as he originally was for two episodes, before eventually being fired on Aug. 12.

How do you think Criminal Minds will write out Gibson, by November sweeps?

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262 Comments
  1. Wee says:

    Hotch cannot die. They cannot orphan Jack like that that is unacceptable

  2. Chad says:

    By the looks of things I’m not going to miss Hotch one bit. Good riddance. Gibson gothe what he deserved.

    • Jane R says:

      That’s great, Chad. I’m sure everyone over at CBS is loving all this “Hotch who?” stuff. Couldn’t pay for this kind of positive feedback. “Real” fans love the fact that Gibson is gone. I’m sure the show won’t miss a beat with Paget, and what’s his face, and that other guy. Cheaping out and building around a bunch of no-names is the formula that all great shows follow. Uh, no. Seriously, it’s toilet time. That means, the show is toast.

      • Sharon says:

        I agree bad move on their part

        • Kat R. says:

          Absolutely !! A man,(actor) who has obviously put his heart and soul into this character, should at least be given an ear for potential line re-writes. The subject matter itself is hard to digest, let alone portray it. The show won’t be the same without him. 11yrs down the drain. Because some writer was overly sensitive. Shocking, such unusual behavior from a writer. LOL Idiots.

          • Debbie says:

            Your right. I guess that writer is a real piece of work. And when he doesn’t like someone, he has a way of getting them fired. Had same kind of problems when he was on ER

          • Vicki says:

            Oh I am so with you. Aren’t we adults now.. Just act right and put on a good show. Sounds like that’s what they did afterwards anyway??? I just don’t get it either. I’ve grown old with Hotch. And little Jack??? Hailey died, Beth moved..now dad? This is such a TERRIFIC SHOW I truly will miss him and my prayers are with him.

      • Kim English says:

        I agree…the powers that be don’t care about the fans who supported the show for eleven years.

        • Sharon says:

          No they don’t

          • Ken Sanders says:

            You’re right,punish the guy but don’t ruin the show,w/o Gibson and Moore,the show will not go on!

        • Ciss Abraham says:

          Once they put this Damon Gupton in, this show is done. He doesn’t even look like he fits in this team. One fight with a big wig and they fire a man who has been on the show from the beginning and replace him with a nobody!! That’s CBS for you…..They will lose their fan’s. They will lose me as a fan for sure.

        • Lora Davis says:

          Seriously I am so upset to read this. I can’t believe someone can get fired from a show that probably wouldn’t have had this kind of success without him. Wish they had taken a viewer vote. Chances are, I won’t be watching much anymore! Perturbed…

      • Simon Jester says:

        “Cheaping out and building around a bunch of no-names is the formula that all great shows follow.” – Sure. I also predict that new NCIS show is going to get cancelled as soon as Sasha Alexander leaves. :-D

        • Jane R says:

          Hmm, interesting perspective. Comparing Sasha Alexander to Thomas Gibson? Huh? That’s a bit of stretch. Try Mark Harmon. How long would NCIS last without Harmon/Gibbs?

          • Simon Jester says:

            Oh, puh-lease. Thomas Gibson is not in the same league as Mark Harmon, and never has been. When Gibson gets a couple of Emmy nominations under his belt, we’ll talk.

          • Jane R says:

            Again, comparing Sasha Alexander to Thomas Gibson … you’re not too smart, are you?

          • Ciss Abraham says:

            If Mark Harmon left the show would be finished. It’s bad enough that Michael Weatherly and Cote De Pablo left. They should have brought Ziva back to Tony and the show would have soared in it’s ratings. So far, I don’t like the shows I’ve watched. They won’t be around much longer. And Michael Weatherly’s show Bull is terrible and boring.

      • ssgma1 says:

        REALLY Luke played on CSI MIAMI from beginning til end His REAL Name is Adam Rodriquez, I AM REALLY GOING TO MISS HOTCH THE SHOW WILL NOT BE THE SAME ;<((((

      • ed nixon says:

        I could not agree more.TOAST

      • newzbug says:

        Which “real fans” are you speaking of? And what do you say qualifies one as a “real fan”?

    • ssgma1 says:

      Learn how to spell, You SUCK, If you didn’t like Hotch why watch the show??

    • ed nixon says:

      Hotch was criminal minds,I will not watch it without him.

    • KeAirah Leftrick says:

      I can’t believe how childish some peoole can be. Personally I loved Hotches seriousness and dedication to his work. Whoever this new character is he will most certainly not be half the character Hotchner was.it gives me great sorrow to hear that one of the character I personally believe made a good percentage of the show is gone. It was bad enough they did this in NCIS. The writer obviously can’t tell good talent when he sees it. What does it matter if Gibson gave his opinion. Everyone has one. I am thoroughly disappointed.

      • The current issue of TV Guide magazine reports the 2016-17 Top Shows as reported by Nielsens. This would be Live +7 Day DVR. Criminal Minds comes in at #22, with a 10.9 rating. That’s behind Madam Secretary at 11.2 but ahead of Modern Family at 10.8.
        By comparison, Big Bang Theory was #2 behind Sunday Night Football at 19.0. NCIS was #3 at 18.4, NCIS: New Orleans #10 at 13.4 and NCIS: LA at #14 at 12.5.

  3. Tori says:

    Hotch who?

  4. Chad says:

    By the looks of things I’m not going to miss Hotch one bit. Good riddance. Gibson got what he deserved.

  5. GraceM says:

    An episode or to? It’s two. Does no one have spell check anymore?

  6. Angela says:

    Picked the second option. He is devoted to this job, so I don’t think not being able to stomach it would be an issue for him, unless whatever assignment he’s on has him experiencing something that’s truly horrifying. But really, what could be worse than losing his ex-wife to the Reaper?
    .
    But given his guilt over what Jack witnessed in last season’s finale, and his regrets over the fact that Jack’s grown up without his mom around, I think that would be the perfect reason for him to finally decide to reexamine things and take time to focus on being with his son. And I also believe Jack is the biggest reason the show won’t kill Hotch off. I really cannot see them going so far as to make Jack an orphan. Fingers crossed.
    .
    As for the new team setup, I like it. I’ve been enjoying Luke thus far, he’s a sweetie, and it’s nice to see Emily back again :). I worry about how they’ll be able to juggle eight team members when Gupton’s character joins down the line, but Tara Lewis is a regular character this season and yet she wasn’t in tonight’s episode, so…maybe this Walker guy will be the same way at first? I dunno. Cross that bridge when we come to it, right :p?

  7. joan s says:

    Good riddance to a show and a cast who sat back and allowed a disgraceful human resources department and execs treat Mr. Gibson the way they did. No one gets suspended and then two hours later gets a call at home and gets fired. Criminal Minds would never gave lasted all this time without Thomas Gibson. Good riddance to CBS

    • HH2 says:

      Are you kidding me? This cast has been burned by the networks so many times before. This is the same network that fired two out of its three female stars in one fell swoop simply because the execs wanted new women (i.e. younger). Anything is possible with them including firing the one person that could be considered the star in what essentially is an ensemble show. The networks simply wanted to make a statement. I doubt they care about viewership and ratings when they can let go of the face of the franchise just like that. And what could the cast have done? Speak out and lose their jobs just because someone misbehaved and got kicked off because of his actions? These are people with families to feed and careers to consider. I totally get why they selfishly kept quiet and still choose not to speak about the incident. Maybe Gibson should have sued when he threatened to instead of going to the press to explain things from his perspective. A court case would have been the only chance that the public could know what really went on because then the cast and crew who allegedly witnessed the incident would be forced to take the stand and testify.

      • Last week’s show was the best one ever, without Gibson it would not have played out so well. This is the biggest mistake in television history. I am sick about it. This has been my favorite show since the first season. The reason for his dismissal was because of an ego maniac who over reacted and ruined the best show on television. You just lost your number one fan…….

        • HelloDolly says:

          We barely even saw Hotch in the episode last week. It was all JJ, from the opening scene until the end. It could have been the JJ, Will, and Luke Alvez show and the episode would still be as good. The only time Hotch’s presence registered was when he told JJ to take a break. Ironically, last week’s episode was written by the ego maniac who over reacted and got into an altercation with Thomas Gibson.

          • Jane R says:

            Oh, the show was terrible. But Gibson’s last scene made it good and that’s the lasting memory of the show for most “real” fans.

      • Sharon says:

        He’s suppose to be I thought

      • Debbie says:

        I thought he is suing?

        • HH2 says:

          They speculated that he was going to sue because he consulted a Hollywood lawyer. So far nothing has come out of it. I figured he probably wasn’t going to sue once he came out with that tell-all to People magazine. He might still go to court once this all dies down though.

        • Armygal says:

          That’s not going to help the show or bring Hotch back!

    • Jane R says:

      Joan, you’re so right. It’s all about the money for these guys, so make the cast and crew pay. They don’t care what the fans think and they’re just in it for themselves, so why should anyone watch the show and let them get away with it.

    • Sharon says:

      I can’t believe they all said nothing about this people he worked with 11 seasons unbelievable

    • Margo Graupman says:

      Thomas Gibson is Criminal Minds. You did a wrong thing. Bring him back, the show has lost its status. He was the leader and not going to be as interested as I once was.

      • Nancy says:

        Thomas is Criminal Minds true but let’s not forget Dark Chocolate! The show is falling apart at the seams.

        • Tracet says:

          But at least it was Shemar’s choice to leave, and he’s always hinting on social media that it’s not permanent. I don’t know about falling apart at the seams, but I certainly don’t think they’ve done it any favours.

        • Ciss Abraham says:

          That was a big mistake taking him off the show also. I liked him and Garcia’s special love.

        • Tmpose says:

          I agree. The dynamic between Derrick and Penelope will never be replaced by any other character. However, they left his exit open for a possible return in the future. I honestly don’t think there will be a future for the show after this season. Getting rid of Gibbson was a mistake. Too much change too fast.

        • What about the picture of him and Reid in an intimate embrace ?

      • Mark says:

        The show started going down hill with Erica Messar taking charge with the loss of impetus on the actual crimes and profiling. Instead going more for the characters personnel lives, Plus her poor management of various staff issues — time for a change at the top. So the show can get back to what made it great prior to season 7.

    • Rhonda M says:

      I agree. Hotch will be missed. The show is on the way out. My family have decided not to watch.

    • Kim English says:

      I agree 100%!

  8. Mary Ann says:

    Hitch is a necessity for the show. You have already let Morgan getaway! Losing another seasoned star will be a huge mistake.

    I have never missed a show but will do so!!!!

    • Angela says:

      They didn’t “let Morgan get away”. Shemar Moore simply chose to leave, ’cause he wanted to go do other things.

      • LIzzie says:

        They should have paid him so much money he couldn’t/wouldn’t go. Derek and Hotch are key pieces to the show, both of their characters are vital. They should never have gotten rid of Emily before, and at least having her back brings some continuity to the cast.

        • Angela says:

          It had nothing to do with money. He just felt it was time for him to move on and do other things with his life. I miss Morgan, too, but if the guy wanted to go do other things, then so be it.

        • A Goonie says:

          He wanted to leave. He already wanted to leave at the beginning of season 11 but stayed for more episodes because of AJ Cook’s maternity leave. He has said in interviews before that he only wanted to stay until season 10. The show and fans were lucky that we got him for 18 more episodes. It wasn’t about money, it was just a case of an actor wanting to move on with his life and career.

  9. Sherri Kurtz says:

    I don’t care what stupid excuse they use to kick Thomas Gibson off the show. I’m done with Criminal Minds!!!!! I will never watch the show again! I am boycotting ANY show the producers make!!!! I have bought every season of Criminal Minds until season 12. Will not be buying that season. I am furious that the producers kicked Thomas Gibson off the show.

  10. sofia says:

    Hotch didn’t make his exit yet. Well, physically he has, but they will still need to address on one the upcoming episodes why he won’t be returning so they can make Emily the new Unit Chief.
    IMO his assignment either becomes permanent, or he will leave to focus on Jack and on his father-in-law.
    I will miss Hotch a lot, but I love the team as it was on tonight’s episode. They don’t need an 8th member. They never have before when the team had 4 men and 3 women (sometimes even less than 3 women), so they also don’t need it now just because it’s the other way around. Them hiring a new male team member is pure disgusting sexism.

  11. Last week’s show was the best one ever, without Gibson it would not have played out so well. This is the biggest mistake in television history. I am sick about it. This has been my favorite show since the first season. The reason for his dismissal was because of an ego maniac who over reacted and ruined the best show on television. You just lost your number one fan…….

  12. Mike says:

    I wonder what the real story is? I feel quite sure we have not heard that yet.

    • joan says:

      Mike, thanks for your comment. Hopefully at some point we will know, because frankly I hv never heard of Company doing something lk this. Jane,I agree with your cooments! Most stations at leas listen to the fan. Seriously, to all Hotch and Criminal Minds fans, we have made this show Number #1 in Crime drama for 12 years. Dedicated to the actors, and show. We deserve better than this, and Thomas Gibson deserves better. We haven’t watched any of the past 3 weeks episodes and won’t be unless Hotch and only Mr.Gibson himself in that role is brought back. Although, he was in the first two, I can understand why some would want to see hiim, but we can’t. Boycotting, as well that new show Conviction, also produced by CM execs..on a steady roll with this one :-)

  13. Glinda Smith says:

    I dont believe the powers that be in television realize the end run of their folly. Criminal Minds losing Hotch. Empure losing Tariji, Castle gone bec a use Kate was fired and we all know theres no Castle without Kate. The powers thatbe are power hungry to the point of chocking on their owe vomit. The return character to Criminal Minds come on Emily Prentiss comma made a statement while they won’t on an airplane heading to the next case she said and I quote “Tyrin Edwards wrote “Sinful and forbidden pleasures is like poison bread. They might satisfy the appetite for the moment but there is death in them at the end. “”

  14. GraceM says:

    I just realized Emily Prentiss and Luca Alvarez have something in common.

    They both speak fluent Spanish.

  15. Lu says:

    I will not watch without Hotch

  16. joan s says:

    Glinda S, wow, that phrase really summed it up! Thanks for sharing. Now if the writers and producers and Human Resources of CM and the other shows you mentioned only took those words seriously to heart, great shows might actually last and everyone be happy. Fans deserve to be listened to. No fans, no income! They live very well off our commitment to great characters and our viewership. Let’s hear some thanks from them to us! Yay for us :-)

  17. Sue says:

    I hate when they. Real up a great family like this. I sat and watched this tonight and had still hoped that Gibson would call or show up YES even know I know it wasn’t going to happen. I really don’t care if I watch it anymore. Thanks CBS. YOU SUCK

  18. Rhonda H says:

    Ive seen every episode of Crinimal minds since it aired.The show just is not gonna be the same without Hotch,He was one of my favorites on there and it will not be the same without him,They are gonna loose me as a Viewer,The other great one is Dr.Spencer,They gonna get rid of him this year too. Such a shame they let Hotch go the way they did.Very upset about this,My favorite show,Sad to say i will not be watching anymore

  19. Kathy Smith says:

    Gibson should be given another chance I love his character and no one can replace him. He is the best for that part.

  20. This show should have ended a long time ago. It’s the same plot every single week.

  21. Yvette Jordan says:

    Sow not the same without Hotch, Thomas Gibson. If he does not come back, I will no longer watch the Show and tell All my Friends and Others not to and start a petition. Are you kidding me, first Shemar moore, now Thomas Gibson, what are you “people” doing?! We LOVE Hotch and he is the “main” and I quote “main” reason I watch the Show.

  22. MELISSA MERCHANT says:

    Search Shemar Moore now Thomas Gibson I’m going to stop watching this was my favorite show at one time letting too many good actors

  23. Yvette Jordan says:

    Show not the same without Hotch, Thomas Gibson. If he does not come back, I will no longer watch the Show and tell All my Friends and Others not to and start a petition. Are you kidding me, first Shemar moore, now Thomas Gibson, what are you “people” doing?! We LOVE Hotch and he is the “main” and I quote “main” reason I watch the Show.

  24. Marie says:

    I am a big fan of the show But I think too many of the original cast are being taken out Shemar Moore leaving already (his choice) has already made the series less interesting to me after Thomas Gibson I will see if I am interested in watching it or not.

  25. SuS says:

    I have never watched CM before but I have a lot of free time and I consider catching up. Can someone tell me for sure – is this show build solely on Case of the Week episodes, or are there also season long mysteries/arcs? I tend to like serialized shows better.
    Thanks!

    • Tara says:

      Hey Sus
      They have done longer arcs and the week to week thing at times they are intertwined together where there may be a week or so that doesn’t directly dove tail into a longer story arc. So I’m going to say both :)

  26. Roberta says:

    I want hotch back

  27. kippi oneal says:

    I might stop watching it, and it’s 1 of my favorite shows. Suspend him for a couple shows but not termination.

    • kippi oneal says:

      I want him back. Are we only hearing 1 side of the story. He’s been on that show for 11 seasons, Jack is growing up. Bring him back. He doesn’t deserve to be fired. That’s really wrong

  28. arial2 says:

    I like the show better without Gibson. I was surprised when I first watched and realized I was still seeing Greg from Dharma and Greg. The actors there now have more range.

  29. Lor says:

    Bring Hotch back. Keep Prentiss and Luke permanently along with the rest of the team and in trade use Dr. Lewis occasionally and as a guest star. Ask Morgan to guest star as often as possible. Everyone makes mistakes and the original team is too good to split up.

  30. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband said to write that he will not miss Hotch because Hotchner was so unfeeling and uncaring to the other team members and in the story, I guess. He’s only gone back to watching Criminal Minds after 8 years because of Adam Rodriguez. The show’s not my thing, but I did notice a different kind of warmth, this episode, catching snippets while working on the computer.

  31. Ben says:

    I really like this season. I will miss hotch. But this new team is great too

  32. Terry says:

    I won’t watch the show if he’s no longer on it. Bad decision.

  33. Helen says:

    The show is going to suck without hotch, it was bad enough that Morgan left!! Hotch was the boss he made the show!! Bad move!!!!

  34. Barb says:

    I cant believe the VIP’s of Criminal Minds, that a main Character, who we love & b/come a big part of,for 11 yrs, is going 2 make a petty decision 2 let the actor go, after a stupid incident!
    & 2 also decide the punishment,but then go overboard changing the punishment! Some actors cant b replaced,unless an understanding is made by the viewers,& this wont b one of them! One reason is b/cause Hotch has lost all his family, except his son,Jack!
    It is rare for an actor 2 b a character, for several seasons, n several shows, n a row, like Thomas Gibson! It doesnt matter who u try & replace him with,u r making a huge mistake,if u dont bring him bk!
    Hate 2 c the show end,b/cause of a stupid kick 2 a VIP person!

  35. Keith says:

    Gibson’s character Hotch was the backbone of the show. As much as I like some of the other characters and especially the addition of Adam Rodriguez as Luke Alvez, I’m done. The real story is the damaged ego of the write/co-producer that had creative differences with Thomas Gibson. What a loss for such a ridiculous disagreement.

  36. Diane says:

    Keep Emily but bring Thomas Gibson back. There must be more to the story then a spat & kick. Suspend him for a few episodes, firing him seems rather drastic.

  37. liame says:

    Didn’t miss Hotch at all but I did miss Dr. Lewis and I still miss Derek, I wish he would come back. The cast also seems more relaxed, good job.

  38. vicki says:

    better bring him back or I will not be watching. That is so “Stupid” why ruin a good show?? So directors bring him back as lots of us at work won’t watch he’s good in that show so Grow Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And there are a lot of people who will miss him and were “REAL FANS” So don’t know what show your watching!!!!!!!!

  39. remy says:

    I have watched Criminal Mind from day 1 and without Thomas Gibson is not the same. Aaron Hotch is the Criminal Mind regarding whoever you replace him is not the same.So I am hoping the producer and director should bring him back.Starting next week we will be watching other shows or movies.

  40. Please bring Hitch back.

  41. Whatevah8 says:

    CBS has been so passive/aggressive about this incident I think as final punishment, they will kill Hotch. I have no doubt about it. If I didn’t like everyone else in this show I would say “see ya”. But..

  42. I hate this it is petty and I want Gibson back on the show. He makes a lot of the show and is a pivotal character. Disappointed.

  43. Mr. Smith says:

    I realize that his actions might not have been professional and that past actions were not professional, BUT I would also think TPTB would have at the very least given viewers a better send off than this. This is unacceptable considering the many years we have invested in the show. Most viewers probably will never realize what happened behind the scenes.

    Makes you wonder if they didn’t want to get rid of him anyway….

    • Whatevah8 says:

      The thing that bothers me most is they decided to suspend him & then fire him. After they fired him is when we heard about this, not when the suspension happened. That’s crap. You don’t up the ante on someone after they’ve already been punished. That’s what I mean by passive/aggressive. I think they did want to get rid of him to save $$.

  44. Jenna says:

    I don’t know where all you people work, but if I go to work and throw a temper tantrum and punch my boss, chances are I’m getting fired and rightfully so.

    He had had issues in the past too to my understanding. If I was another cast/crew member and they DIDNT fire Gibson and I was the next one Gibson attacked, I would sue the network and the show for MILLIONS and I would win. You can’t knowingly expose your employees to violent threats in the workplace.

    • Mr. Smith says:

      Jenna, we don’t know for sure exactly what happened. Both the producers and the actor will spin this situation to their advantage. SOMETHING did happen, but we may never know. The thing that bothers some of us is how they didn’t provide closure for the viewers. MOST viewers will never know exactly what happened to the character, other than he accepted a job elsewhere out of the blue. For longtime viewers, this doesn’t cut it. Again, I don’t condone any violence in the workplace, but there should have been some resolution for the viewers.

  45. Jamie says:

    Yes, it’s great to have Prentiss back, but the chemistry is forever changed. I didn’t always like Gibson’s often overly serious character, but in the context of everyone else, and their jobs, it fit perfectly. Paget’s insertion into this role won’t work for me. Sorry. I’m out.

  46. Dufus says:

    I have been a fan of this show since the beginning. Hotch, I love. I have looked at each and every episode and the reruns. Hotch was my favorite. I don’t think I can be that loyal to the program anymore.

  47. karen says:

    Bring him the show not the same without him

  48. Brenda carder says:

    Probably stop watching. First Derrick now hotch, whose next, jj again. Getting boring.

  49. The episode was OK without Hotch. He wasn’t in last weekend’s episode much, and it was like a transition before the transition. I didn’t really miss him that much.

    I can’t really see Hotch quitting unless something really bad happens to either his kid or father in law. The quitting might have worked if Erin was still there; her arcs were always trying to find a way to get rid of Hotch and maybe even the BAU, but exiling Hotch without killing him off would be easier with her than Matteo. And you wouldn’t think he’d leave without some sort of party.

    Killing him off is cleanest, but they could also be curt with an opening scene like last night’s reference to his ‘special assignment from the Director’. Like a scene with some ‘Hotch’s blow out party was one to remember’ lines and that’s it. Both will be short and abrupt and be done with it.

  50. Will says:

    Hotch can’t die. If he died, like in just about every other show where a character dies, they have a remembrance sequence where they show each character with the recently deceased.

    I can’t see the show giving Gibson a sendoff of any kind given the publicity of his firing.