Meeting of 'Minds': CBS and Mantegna

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Joe Mantegna is in final negotiations to join the CBS drama "Criminal Minds."

The hire caps weeks of exhaustive searching for a new lead on the two-year-old crime drama after star Mandy Patinkin's abrupt departure last month from the show because of what he called "creative differences."

"We are very excited to tell you all that Joe Mantegna is officially joining the cast of 'Criminal Minds,' " the show's executive producer and showrunner, Ed Bernero, wrote in a posting on the "Minds" fan blog during the weekend. "Thanks for hanging with us, everyone."

Details about Mantegna's character as well as when he will be introduced have yet to be determined. Patinkin's character, Jason Gideon, was the leader of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit at the center of the show, which is produced by ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co.

Mantegna is nominated for an Emmy for his role on USA Network's miniseries "The Starter Wife."

The actor has strong ties with CBS. He co-starred on two CBS series, "Joan of Arcadia" and "First Monday," as well as on the network's miniseries "The Last Don," which earned him an Emmy nomination.
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