Chicago Fire confirms season 12 episode count (but there’s a catch)

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Red Waterfall" Episode 1122 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jake Lockett as Carver, Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Red Waterfall" Episode 1122 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jake Lockett as Carver, Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo -- (Photo by: Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC) /

It’s been a tumultuous year for Chicago Fire. Sure, the firefighting drama got renewed for another season, but the writers and actors strike have been the production of the season on hold for many months. The actors were finally able to reach an agreement with the studios on Wednesday, November 8, though not before a drastic change to television schedules was made.

There’s been lots of discussion about how long the upcoming season of Chicago Fire will be due to the fact that production has been delayed. There were pessimistic reports that it would only have 6-8 episodes, and some optimistic ones that claimed 16-18, but TV Line has given us a measured (and more recent) number.

Chicago Fire season 12 will be the shortest season yet

According to the outlet, Chicago Fire season 12 will consist of 13 episodes. The same goes for the other entries in the One Chicago franchise: Chicago Med and Chicago PD. This number splits the difference between the previously reported predictions, and will mark the lowest number of episodes ever released for a season of Fire. It will also mark the second time the number of episodes has fallen under 20.

Previously, the record holder for season with the lowest number of episodes was season 9, which had only 16 due to production issues caused by the 2020 pandemic. The number provided by TV Line, however, comes with a catch. The show will only be able to produce and release 13 episodes despite the resolution of the strike. In order for this number to be met, and for actors to be have time to shoot their scenes, the production on Chicago Fire will have to start up at some point in late November or early December, and potentially even carry through the holiday season.

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This plan makes sense given the previous announcements that have been made regarding the show. One Chicago was quick to reopen the writers rooms for all three shows once the writers strike was resolved, and November 1 marked the day in which crew members were ordered to begin decorating sets. It’s clear that NBC wants to start prepping, so that they can start making new episodes of Fire as soon as possible.

13 episodes may be disappointing for fans expecting a full season, and could lead to subplots being pushed back a year due to the lack of screen time, but it is better than the 6-8 option we were all looking at months ago. We’re hopeful that we will still be getting a terrific season of Chicago Fire in 2024.

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