Marg Helgenberger, Laurence Fishburne
CSI recently wrapped up its ninth season in front of 14.41 million total viewers. An enviably large crowd, make no mistake, but one 19 percent smaller than tuned in for the Season 8 closer. Rubbing salt in the wound, Fox said this week that they had moved Fringe to Thursdays-at-9 because, among other reasons, CSI and Grey's Anatomy were both sliding and "not consuming all the oxygen" the time slot has to offer.
Is a plan afoot to make CSI's pulse as vital as it was when William Petersen was at the fore?
"Absolutely," CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler tells TVGuide.com.
"[Show runners] Carol [Mendelsohn] and Naren [Shankar] are very aggressive smart producers," Tassler noted during CBS" upfronts press gathering in New York City. "And when we get back [to Los Angeles] we'll be hearing their creative strategy for next season."
CSI this past fall had to navigate tricky waters, as series lead William Petersen stepped down (though he stayed on as a producer), and film vet Laurence Fishburne was brought on to, in part, fill the void. Some longtime CSI viewers, though, are taking some time to warm up to Fishburne's character, Professor Ray Langston. So another "fix" may be needed to course-correct the slipping procedural.
Though Tassler has yet to meet with the CSI producers and review their pitch for Season 10, she will say, "They are very excited and have got lots of surprises in store for next season."
Whether that might mean adding another new face to the mix, she does not know. "I'll have to wait and hear what they're planning," says Tassler.