Ted Danson will replace Laurence Fishburne as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’s leading man for the show’s 12th season, which premieres on September 21.

Fishburne left the series in May, after merely two seasons, after CBS declined to renew his contract. CBS announced that Danson, 63, will play the CSI supervisor for the grave shift after having headed the crime lab in Portland. Danson’s character joins the team as they are still dealing with the professional and personal consequences from last season’s defeat and murder of serial killer Nate Haskell.

“You can create a new character on the page, but until the perfect actor comes along and breathes life into it, it’s just words,” said executive producer Carol Mendelsohn in a press statement. “We’re very excited Ted Danson came along.”

Bringing Danson on board beings an end to CBS’s search to find a suitable star to help improve CSI’s plummeting ratings, especially after Fishburne replaced popular series regular William Peterson, who played Gil Grissom. The former Top 5 show finished the last season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49, ranking No. 30. In an attempt to pick up the flagging show, CBS also moved it to a new night this fall – Wednesdays at 10 p.m. instead of Thursday.

Offers also went out to actors like Tony Shaloub, Robin Williams and John Lithgow before the studio locked on Danson, according to Entertainment Weekly. “From the moment we all started talking about the role, it was clear he couldn’t be more perfect,” said executive producer Don McGill. “Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character and emotion, he brings it all. And now he’ll have to bring latex gloves, too.”

Although probably best known for playing Sam Malone in the '80s on Cheers, Danson has been enjoying a career resurgence thanks to a critically-acclaimed role on Damages. He received three Emmy nominations for playing Arthur Frobisher on the FX drama. Danson is also, and will continue to be, a series regular on Bored to Death. He has been nominated for 14 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning two, 10 Golden Globe Awards, winning three, and one Screen Actors Guild Award.


  • Sydney Ramsden
    Sydney Ramsden on

    Damages, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death….I guess Ted Danson is trying to break the record for being on as many TV shows at the same time as possible.

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