‘Criminal Minds’ to follow Super Bowl

Red-hot sophomore procedural drama exec produced by Gordon

Producer Mark Gordon is becoming the King of Super Bowl Sunday.

CBS said Monday that an episode of the Gordon-produced “Criminal Minds” will fill the coveted post-pigskin slot on Feb. 4. News comes a year after ABC used the hour after the big game to air an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” which Gordon also exec produces.

Both “Criminal Minds” and “Grey’s Anatomy” come from Touchstone Television. CBS Paramount Network Television co-produces “Minds” with Touchstone.

Nothing’s set in stone yet, but there’s buzz that CBS may make the “Minds” seg a two-part event, with the resolution to the Super Bowl cliffhanger airing in the show’s regular Wednesday slot. ABC used that strategy last year with “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Eye had been mulling a couple of ideas for the Feb. 4 slot, including a plan to air “Two and a Half Men” and red-hot “How I Met Your Mother.”

Instead, net opted for “Minds,” the sophomore crime drama that has been performing strongly at 9 p.m. Wednesdays opposite “Lost.” Eye execs wanted a skein with as broad appeal as possible, and there were also concerns that slotting two laffers would give viewers an excuse to change the channel at the end of the first skein.

CBS also figures “Minds” may be boosted by the exposure on Super Bowl Sunday. Its “CSI” trio is already well established with auds.

While webs once used the post-Super Bowl slot to premiere programming, it’s become increasingly common for existing skeins to get the nod.

Mandy Patinkin heads up the cast of “Criminal Minds,” playing the chief of an FBI unit devoted to psychologically profiling criminals. Thomas Gibson, Paget Brewster and Shemar Moore also star.