Exclusive: CBS Eyes 'Criminal Minds' Spin-off

Minds_lWith CSI spun out to within an inch of its life, what’s CBS to do? Find another established hit to exploit, natch! Yes, Criminal Minds, I’m talking about you.

Executive producer Ed Bernero confirms to me exclusively that “substantive” discussions are currently taking place between CBS and producer ABC Studios to expand the Minds franchise with an offshoot. “It’s safe to say there will be something soon,” he reveals. “We had talked about it from the beginning, but something always got in the way of it happening… like Mandy [Patinkin] leaving and the strike. But it’s definitely gaining momentum now.”

A consensus on what an alternate Minds would look like has not yet been reached, but Bernero says they’re “looking at all of the things the FBI does and how we can work that into the Criminal Minds world.” The idea would likely be introduced during a special episode of Minds to air later this coming season.

The big question, of course, is whether one of the show’s current cast will be poached to headline the new series. “I don’t think so,” Bernero says. “We’re very happy with the team we have. On the other hand, it’s possible characters could be on both shows… All options are open.”

Well, except for the one labeled “Mandy Patinkin.” That one I’m pretty sure is closed.

OK, Criminal Minds fans (I’ve seen the ratings, I know you’re out there), what’s your take on this potential version 2.0? Yay? Nay? Could care less? Sound off below!

Oh, and in other news, I’m getting ready to launch a revolutionary new weekly column that features questions from my readers (that’s you!) about spoilers, scoop and other assorted nonsense, so now all I need are those questions. Send them to ausielloscoop@ew.com — and tell your friends!

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  • gmyers

    There is only one Behavioral Analysis Unit. I don’t know what a spinoff could be. Maybe they could have a trial show where the characters are put on trial. IN that way people from the main cast could be witnesses.

    • Guest

      No, no, nooooooooooo! Not a spin-off! You know what this means: one BAU…they’re going to have to kill off the team…and I don’t want Minds to go cheap like CSI…or NCIS

      • Leah

        not necessarily i think the only reason they would kill off the team if they changed the name i could be wrong but i think they are trying to do what they did with NCIS and just show 2 different sections of the same team… although I’m not a huge fan of spin offs most of the time they arent as good as the original and i’m ok with the spin off as long as they leave the characters on the main one alone…

    • Genie

      I love Criminal Minds and I loved the episode where they worked with the other team in San Fran. I can’t imagine a spin off. Although I didn’t see how spin off’s of CSI would work and now I like them better than the original. Too much of a cast change for them. The spin off cast would have to be pretty darn amazing. How about a cross over with CSI: New York instead?? THAT, I would pay $$$$ to see. It would be an awesome show. Why mess with a good thing?? Especially losing A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster.

  • Dana

    I am not a big fan of them doing a spin off. I love Criminal Minds though! Awesome show! Great actors!

  • Krystal

    I don’t know, Mike. I know the theory is, “If it works, run it into the ground”, but I’m not sure if this is a show that needs a spinoff. But give me a halfway decent outline and I’m open to suggestions.

  • Ashlyn

    Oh, thank GOD. I was starting to worry about the lack of boring procedurals out there.

  • mdb

    I am not sure how I feel about CM 2.0 (but I love Ausiello EW version). I like the dynamic they have now although that said I would love to see more of Prentiss :)

  • Alana Jones

    I don’t really care. Much like CSI, they can make as many as you want, AS LONG AS the team stays the same, and I mean all of them: Reid, Hotch, Garcia, JJ, Emily, Morgan and even Rossi (because Joe is awesome) and that CM#1 gets to keep the same writers and producers. Please Ed, don’t leave us. And I love that he still holds a grudge to Patinkin. I feel you man.

  • Alana Jones

    Forgot to say, probably won’t watch it. It’s not like they can clone Matthew Gray Gubler and Thomas Gibson – Or can they?

  • Jesse

    No thank you, not interested.

  • Jenny

    What about maybe the tech side of it? Like Garcia could be in both, then she & Nicholas Brendon’s character, Kevin, could be two of the main characters in a “techy” CM….

  • thorswitch

    Yeah, I’m not so sure this is one they can stretch like they have CSI. The group already travels around the country, so they can’t do “regional” shows (ala Miami and NY.) I think they only way they could pull it off would be somewhat like how the L&Os have done it – use, essentially, the same “Criminal Minds” universe (i.e same bureaucracy, share the fictional “backdrop” like newspaper names, politicans, anything where they have to make something up to avoid using the name of a real place that might sue if they think they’re getting a bad rap *g*) and so forth. The “hinge” between the spin-off and the original could be that obnoxious lady who tried to get Hotchner kicked out. She must have more than one department under her control, so the new show could be another of her departments. It’s REALLY thin, but its the only way I can see it being done. That said, I’ll probably give it a chance, but no guarantee I’ll keep watching if it’s not as good as the original.

  • Colleen S

    I enjoy Criminal Minds but I don’t them to make a Criminal Minds Lite.
    I just want to say a quick shout out to
    our Michael and his new awesome gig.
    So what do we call ourselves now.
    Ausphiles?

  • DeDum

    I don’t care if they do CM 2.0 cause I only watch the show for hot and sexy Shemar Moore and the psych doc. The other characters don’t interest me.

  • Anonymous

    Not too thrilled. I definitely don’t want the excellent quality of Criminal Minds to lessen because of any divided attention with a spin off. I agree, if it happens, let them have their own writers and stuff. Don’t steal from the original. Especially not the actors. Even though I wouldn’t be crying if Rossi left, I know he won’t. So, all I have to say is, I like the team the way it is and would hate to lose any of the others. So, I’m glad that Bernero says they’re happy with the team like it is. So am I. And, part of what makes them great is their dynamic together.
    It would have to be good on its own. Being tied to Criminal Minds won’t garner any loyalty from me.

  • Anonymous

    ASK AUSIELLO IS RETURNING!!!
    Who cares about Criminal Minds, this is the big news!!!

  • Jo Leigh

    I love the show as is, and the teams on screen and off. Careful you don’t dissipate the energy and talent of this excellent show. And congrats to CM for staying firmly rooted in the top 20. Why such an urge to mess with success?

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