"Criminal Minds" is spinning off one of the most anticipated series of 2011 with "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" (debuting 9 p.m. Wednesday, CBS).
"We feel like, after this many episodes of the success we've had in ‘Criminal Minds,' that it's time to do the next show," says executive producer Mark Gordon. "There are certainly similarities to the (parent) show, but it's also very different. We have a very different team and a very different way that they will be operating."
It's also a no-brainer to do such a series.
"Criminal Minds" is one of prime time's biggest hits, almost always ranking in the top 20 (and often the top 10) every week. A spin-off is one way to keep the franchise alive even as the original series, after more than 140 episodes and six seasons, is aging.
Along with "Criminal Minds'" trademark gruesomeness, "Suspect Behavior" features the unlikely leads of Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker as FBI investigator Sam Cooper and standup comic Janeane Garofalo as his partner, Beth Griffith.
Kirsten Vangsness is the only true connection between the parent show and the spin-off. She'll carry her character, FBI technical analyst Penelope Garcia, into "Suspect Behavior" while remaining on the original.
"I hadn't been thinking about doing television," Whitaker says. "I hadn't chosen to. I'd been offered to a few times, and I think it wasn't the right moment for me."
Meeting with the producers and cast, "I really like the concept of being able to enter into the minds of people and try to understand what makes them tick and try to understand, sort of, the duality that exists there," Whitaker says.
Garofalo describes Cooper as "reserved" and "spiritual" and Griffith as "more pragmatic."
"Sometimes Forest's character of Sam Cooper is into divination coins and xiao stick fighting and throwing runes and things of that nature," she says, "and Beth's character is much more apt to rely on hard data or to reach a conclusion."
Other scheduled highlights for the week of Feb. 13-19:
"The 53rd annual Grammy Awards" (7 p.m., CBS). Eminem dominates the race with 10 nominations. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Miranda Lambert are to perform.
"Family Guy" (8 p.m., Fox). Peter has a vision of life without booze.
"Mad Love" (7:30 p.m., CBS). Four New Yorkers - two are in love and the other two can't stand each other - are at the heart of this new romance-driven sitcom. Former "Scrubs" star Sarah Chalke leads the cast.
"Searching For ..." (10 p.m., OWN). Investigator Pam Slaton helps clients look for lost loved ones in this new reality series.
"Glee" (7 p.m., Fox). Rachel (Lea Michele) wants to be the coolest kid at school, so she asks the dumbest one (Heather Morris) for help.
"Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" (9 p.m., USA Network). This is no dog-and-pony show: The annual event will be broadcast live.
"The Battle for Marjah" (10 p.m., HBO). The details of Operation: Moshtarak, the largest operation since the start of the Afghanistan war, are examined one year after launch.
"The Injustice Files" (9 p.m., Investigation Discovery). Cold cases from before 1970s and involving racially motivated homicides are detailed as part of the Civil Rights Cold Case Initiative from the FBI.
"Patrice O'Neal: Elephant in the Room" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). The comic explains his plan for a national day of harassment in this new standup special.