Was the post Super Bowl Criminal Minds a mistake?
Is that a disappointment? Last year, the post Super Bowl episode of Grey's Anatomy drew a considerably larger 38.1 million viewers. We can chalk part of that difference up to the fact that Grey's was more of a hit show going in, but I think more of it has to do with the subject matter.
Criminal Minds is never a touchy-feely, happy bunnies on clouds kind of show, but the post Super Bowl episode was dark even by their standards. Come on, Dawson chaining up a woman and setting the dogs loose on her? That's asking a lot from the family friendly Super Bowl audience.
That's not to say that it wasn't a good episode. I thought it was well done, and James Van Der Beek was a nice bit of casting. But then, I'm already a Criminal Minds fan. The post Super Bowl slot isn't about getting me to keep watching. It's about finding new viewers.
So what should CBS have gone with in the coveted slot? I think there were a few better options. If they wanted to go crime-drama, both NCIS and Numb3rs would have been better choices. That is, of course, assuming that they weren't dealing with psycho-religious tech support serial killers. Of the two, I would have preferred NCIS. It has more of an approachable, comedic, flair to it. And like Criminal Minds, it has solidified itself as a solid hit this season. Numb3rs could have easily matched the Criminal Minds ratings though, and probably gained more new viewers as a result.
There was also the option to go with comedy. I think it would have been a good time for a special episode of How I Met Your Mother. Given an hour to go crazy, they could have seen a nice bump in the numbers following that appearance up. It's a good show, and should be drawing much closer to the Two And A Half Men numbers than it is. There was also the option to premiere Rules Of Engagement after a new HIMYM, but after seeing the first episode, I just don't think that one is with us for the long haul.
Finally, what about Survivor? The big premiere is coming up this Thursday, so why not kick it off a few days early? When the show had the spot in 2001, it did a better number than Criminal Minds, and there is no reason to think it wouldn't have done it again. Plus, with the increased competition this year from Ugly Betty and the growing Earl/Office combo, it would have been a nice boost to the start of their season.
We'll have to wait until we see what the appearance did for the Wednesday conclusion of Criminal Minds, and the following weeks. But at this point, I think CBS dropped the ball.