A special episode of the profiling drama will air on Sunday, Feb. 4 after Super Bowl XLI on CBS. A post-Super Bowl showing earlier this year helped transform "Grey's Anatomy" from a sophomore hit into a runaway juggernaut and CBS presumably hopes for a similar splash.
"In just a couple of months, 'Criminal Minds' has gone from our unsung hero to a Top 10 series," says CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler. "Millions of viewers are discovering it every week and obviously they like what they see. 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."
After averaging 13.78 million viewers in its first season, "Criminal Minds" has come out swinging this fall. The show's viewership is up by 25 percent this year, to 16.8 million. After lagging behind the far-more-publicized hit "Lost" in the season's early weeks, "Criminal Minds" beat the ABC show in their last two head-to-head meetings.