'Minds' showrunner to stay at network

CBS Paramount Network Television has sealed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Ed Bernero, showrunner for the Eye’s fast-growing drama hit “Criminal Minds.”

Eye indicated the importance of “Minds” last month when it opted to air the skein in the high-profile post-Super Bowl slot. Crime-focused procedural has become a Wednesday night success story for the Eye, winning the 9 p.m. hour in total viewers in the fall (opposite ABC’s “Lost” and before the arrival of “American Idol”).

Deal with CBS Par locks in Bernero as exec producer-showrunner for “Minds,” which CBS Par co-produces with ABC Television Studio. It also calls for him to develop and create programming for the studio, as well as potentially supervise the work of other creators.

CBS Par prexy David Stapf said Bernero “has emerged as one of the best showrunners in the business,” citing the scribe’s “dedication and enthusiasm” for creating the right conditions for success.

“His stewardship of ‘Criminal Minds’ has made it the huge hit that it is as well as the fastest growing drama on television,” Stapf added. “His new deal was a no-brainer.”

While Bernero remains focused on guiding “Minds,” scribe said he’s already come up with some early ideas for new projects.

Bernero’s resume is heavy on shows with law enforcement-based characters.

He co-created NBC’s “Third Watch” with John Wells, eventually serving as showrunner for the drama. He also worked with Wells on “Trinity,” and with Steven Bochco on “Brooklyn South.”

Despite that, Bernero said CBS Par execs have been open to his desire to move beyond the police beat.

When he pitched his early ideas to execs, “They didn’t say, ‘Yeah, but do you have something with cops?’,” Bernero said. “Writers can get typecast just like actors, and for them to be open to anything I want do is a breath of fresh air for my career. … My biggest victory as a writer will be when someone lets me do something that doesn’t have a cop in it.”

Bernero is repped by UTA.

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