Super Bowl, 'Minds' meld

Plum postgame slot for CBS show

After long consideration, CBS has selected the hot sophomore drama "Criminal Minds" to air after the network's broadcast of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4.

That makes it two in a row for the show's executive producer, Mark Gordon, who also executive produces ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," which aired after the Super Bowl last year. Both series are produced by Touchstone TV.

"In just a couple of months, 'Criminal Minds' has gone from our unsung hero to a top 10 series," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said. "This is an outstanding opportunity to expose a series that is young in its life cycle and on the rise to an enormous universe of potential new viewers."

Airing against ABC's "Lost," "Minds" has been on the rise this season, ranking No. 7 in total viewers with an average of 16.8 million viewers, a 25% increase from the show's solid freshman season performance. Among adults 18-49, the drama about a team of FBI profilers has logged a 4.8 rating/12, up 23% from last year.

"Minds" had been one of several candidates for the plum post-Super Bowl slot. One of the scenarios under consideration included using the highly watched time period to jump-start the second half of the season of promising freshman drama "Jericho."

In choosing "Minds," CBS is taking a page from ABC's playbook. The exposure for "Grey's," then a hot sophomore drama, after the big game propelled the medical soap to the top of the ratings and arguably the most prestigious time slot on broadcast television, Thursday at 9 p.m.

Other sophomore dramas that have aired after the Super Bowl include ABC's "Alias."

"Minds," from Touchstone TV and CBS Paramount Network TV, features an ensemble cast led by Mandy Patinkin. Gordon, Ed Bernero and Deborah Spera are the executive producers.