Castle season 8
Rick and Beckett in Castle season 8 ABC

What are the chances of ABC's crime thriller series Castle being renewed? The show is currently in its 8th season and has seen a steep decline in viewership ratings since its premiere in September. Co-showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter talk about an end-game in mind if ABC does not renew the series for the 9th season.

Hawley told TV Line, "The reality, is that [the network executives] won't make that decision until very late. So our plan is just to tell a satisfying story and try to wrap up the season in an exciting way."

The season 7 finale episode was in fact written as the series finale, but the show was renewed for season 8. However, season 9's renewal chances are slim. Terence Paul Winter also said, "Andrew and Terri [series creator Andrew W Marlowe and writer/wife Terri Edda Miller] wrote it [season 7 finale] as if it was the series finale, and there's a very good chance that we'll most likely be doing that here. We hope to come back for Season 9, but we have to act as if [we might not]."

However, Hawley believes that the show has a lot of life with Rick and Kate's marital woes and separation plot in the first half of season 8. "We think the show has a lot of life in it. As do these characters," he said. "That's the great thing from our side about the storytelling this year, that we do feel energized by the shake-up and what it has allowed us to do.

"We've tried to have a lot of fun in and around an obviously emotional subject... 'The Nose' came out great, and both 'The Last Seduction' and [the fall finale] 'Mr. & Mrs. Castle' had some really delightful stuff in them. We're really happy with the results," the showrunner explained.

The show is on a mid-season hiatus and will return with new episodes from 1 February 2016 on ABC Network.