joe mantegna criminal minds episodic 325 'Criminal Minds': Joe Mantegna 'not so worried' about competing with World SeriesJoe Mantegna isn’t concerned about baseball-oriented minds denting “Criminal Minds” too badly.

The veteran actor’s long-running CBS crime drama airs a new episode Wednesday (Oct. 24) — with guest star Ray Wise (“Reaper”) as a fearsome doctor — opposite Game 1 of the World Series on FOX. “My feeling is that we’ll get low numbers in San Francisco and Detroit,” Mantegna reasons to Zap2it of the cities whose teams are in this year’s Fall Classic. “I’m not so worried about the rest of the country.

“One thing about our fan base is that they’re very, very loyal, almost rabid in the sense that they really are into the show. They watch the repeats in syndication, and they’re just very supportive, so we’ll always have that group. We’ve gone up against ‘American Idol,’ and the World Series is nothing compared to going against that. We’ll see. They may outdraw us tonight, but to me, that’s only temporary.”

Mantegna is pleased with the reception those fans have accorded Jeanne Tripplehorn so far as the latest addition to the regular “Criminal Minds” cast.

“It takes a while,” he allows. “Even when I first came on, it’s not like people instantly throw their arms around you. I understand that they get used to certain actors … especially the fans of a particular character. They hate to see that person go, and there’s almost an initial sense of, ‘Well, prove to me that you can take their place.’

“Jeanne will continually create her own fan base and win people over, and she’s a good fit. She’s very similar in certain ways [to her ‘Criminal Minds’ predecessor Paget Brewster]. She’s a very smart, attractive girl, and it’s probably even more of a parallel move than when I replaced Mandy [Patinkin].”

Outside of “Criminal Minds,” Mantegna is reteaming with longtime friend and National Memorial Day Concert co-host Gary Sinise (“CSI: NY”) for PBS’ “National Salute to Veterans” special Sunday, Nov. 11.

Posted by:Jay Bobbin