CBS announced Wednesday it had signed “CSI” star Ted Danson to a new contract and renewed the mothership show for a 14th season, closing in on “Law & Order” and “Gunsmoke’s” 20-season record.
Danson joined the procedural crime drama in the fall of 2011, playing D.B. Russell, a new supervisor who previously headed a crime lab in Seattle. His co-star, Elisabeth Shue joined the show in February of ’12. (Danson and Shue replaced the show’s original stars, William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger.)
In its announcement, CBS also said the rest of the show’s cast will be back next season, including Shue, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Paul Guilfoyle, Robert David Hall, Wallace Langham, Elisabeth Harnois, David Berman and Jon Wellner.
“The writers and producers have done an amazing job evolving ‘CSI’, reinventing the show around an incredible leading man in Ted Danson, the acclaimed Elisabeth Shue and our beloved and talented core of original cast members,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said in Wednesday’s announcement.
The same cannot be said of its spinoffs. “CSI: Miami” was laid to rest last May and word on the street is that “CSI: NY” stands a pretty good chance of suffering the same fate this coming May.
“CSI,” once a tentpole of CBS’s Thursday lineup, was moved to Wednesday nights where, this season, it is the 10 p.m. hour’s highest rated program. “CSI” is one of the best performing 10 p.m. dramas on broadcast TV — that hour being particularly challenging for broadcasters these days due to heavy DVR viewing in the hour and very aggressive counterprogramming by cable networks.
This season to date, “CSI” is averaging just under 12 million viewers and nearly 4 million of the country’s 18-to-49 year olds. In overall audience, it’s the country’s 24th most popular English language broadcast show; in the age bracket, it’s No. 34.
“CSI” needs to complete a 20th season to tie the “L&O” and “Gunsmoke” record for a live-action drama series. “Gunsmoke” beats “L&O” for number of episodes, having produced nearly 40 episodes per season in its first several seasons.