CBS is pulling an NCIS with Criminal Minds. According to the network's recently released schedule, CBS will debut the new spinoff show Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior on February 16th at 10:00 PM, directly after Criminal Minds. CBS found great success with this same strategy with the debut of the NCIS spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles.
The strategy makes perfect sense, as fans of the original Criminal Minds will likely also enjoy the spin-off show. Interestingly, CBS already debuted the Suspect Behavior cast in a Season Five episode of Criminal Minds (this is known as a backdoor pilot in the TV industry). Presumably, the early crossover appearance, along with the fact that the show is following the original Criminal Minds, will make it more appealing to viewers and get Suspect Behavior started on the right foot.
Considering that Criminal Minds has been on the air for six seasons, a pretty great run in the fickle world of network TV, it's not a surprise to see the show premiering a spinoff. If there's one thing networks like, it's cashing in on a good franchise. Take Law & Order for example. Over the course of that show's 20-year run, NBC churned out four different spinoffs.
The question is, will Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior be like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (a successful spinoff that surpassed the popularity of the original) or Law & Order: Trial by Jury (which only lasted one season).
Based on the quality cast, which includes Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo, there is a strong chance that Suspect Behavior will find success. A great cast is no guarantee of success, of course, especially in network TV where the week-to-week writing is the most important part of the show.
Again, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior will debut on Wednesday, February 16th at 10:00 PM following Criminal Minds at 9:00 PM. Feel free to share your thoughts on Suspect Behavior's potential for success or failure in the comments.