‘CSI’ Season 12 Casts Ted Danson To Replace Laurence Fishburne

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2013 at 8:43 am,

After just two and a half seasons of replacing William Petersen, film star Laurence Fishburne announced he would be calling it quits on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - leaving fans to speculate about who would fill the void left in his wake. Now comes word that Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Ted Danson will be joining the crew in Las Vegas.

It has been a spectacularly tumultuous few months for the aging police procedural. First came the announcement that CBS had shifted its timeslot (from Thursday to Wednesday), then news that Fishburne would depart – and it seemed as though things were deteriorating rapidly on the show.

Now, however, in a clever piece of casting (that may just be the spark needed to get over the absence of a particular cast member), CSI has chosen to bring television veteran Ted Danson to the scene of the crime.

Reportedly, the network initially sought another movie star for the role, but thought better of the idea and began to look at seasoned television actors who could embody the specific character the writers and producers had cooked up to replace Fishburne.

Danson’s role will be more akin to Peterson’s Gil Grissom, and less that of Fishburne’s darker Ray Langston character. According to the network’s announcement, “He comes to the team as they are still grappling with the professional and personal fallout from last season’s take-down of serial killer, Nate Haskell.”

Of course, the series’ producers are thrilled at landing such well-known and celebrated television star.

According to Carol Mendelsohn, executive producer on the show, “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. We’re very excited Ted Danson came along.”

Executive producer Don McGill had this to say about Danson’s casting:

“From the moment we all started talking about the role, it was clear he couldn’t be more perfect. Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character and emotion, he brings it all. And now he’ll have to bring latex gloves, too.”

Danson is best remembered for his Emmy winning role on the long-running NBC sitcom Cheers. In fact, Danson was nominated 11 years in a row for his portrayal of former major-league-pitcher-turned-bar-owner Sam Malone (he won twice).

Fishburne Petersen CSI CSI Season 12 Casts Ted Danson To Replace Laurence Fishburne

After Cheers, Danson worked at CBS on the sitcom Becker, then the short-lived sitcom Ink. The actor briefly jumped to ABC for Help Me Help You, but like Ink, the show didn’t go anywhere. Recently, Danson won acclaim (and yet another Emmy nomination) for his role in the former FX series Damages. As of late, however, he’s been hanging with the HBO crowd – in appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm and sharing the screen with Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis on Bored to Death.

Though he’s recently completed filming season three of Bored to Death, fans will be happy to hear that Danson’s deal with the network allows him to continue his work on the quirky HBO comedy – in addition to his new CSI duties.

Though it was once the mightiest show in the CBS arsenal – having spawned two spin-offs in the process – CSI has seen a significant dip in the ratings. Perhaps it is because of the exit made by CSI mainstay Gil Grissom (William Petersen) in 2008 – despite a brief return this season. Another cause may be that the show is simply beginning to show its age.

Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that CSI is the most watched show in the world. That alone bolsters the belief held by both CBS and the show’s producers that there is enough left in the tank for a few more laps around the track.


Ted Danson will join the cast of CSI on Wednesday, September 21 @10pm.

Source: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. I actually do miss Grissom in CSI and was very disappointed when Fisher took his place as I couldn’t connect with him. Eventually I lost interest in the show, but since Ted Danson has taken over I have found myself glued to the tv watching all the episodes of CSI once again. Ted Danson’s character is similar to Grissom’s and thus makes me love and connect with him. It also helps that the stories are interesting.

    • I loved this show and watched so many reruns, but I have to agree it is not the same without Grissom, why can’t you get him back the show would be a big hit on his return. I could not relate to Fisher at all !!! Please, please bring Grissom back plus Sarah… so sadly missed.

  2. What a let down this guy is – a touch of the movie ‘Airplane’ in a crime investigation series – hope he doesnt last long . Gave up watching

  3. I really don’t like Ted Danson in CSI Las Vegas

  4. I didn’t think I would like Ted Danson in CSI – I didn’t think he would be credible. BUT has I’ve watched it, I DO like his quirky, but personable character. The addition of Finn is also a GREAT addition. A bright professional woman is such an improvement over Kathryn’s unprofessional character.

  5. To you folks who don’t think that Ted Danson can play a serious part need to check him out in Damages season 2 on Netflix. He plays a wicked,SOB, quite believably.

  6. just watched new csi with ted danson. LMAO did they change directors. feels like i am watching a B rated movie. The camera shots dialog and serious dark theme has made this sitcom unbearable. Even the remaining original actors are like watching psppets with like a kinda retarded mean demeanor. o well.. Out with the new in with a different sitcom.

  7. Give me a break! Ted Danson is NOT an actor. He belongs with Cheers as a joker bar tender, nothing else. Please, please, please, P-L-E-A-S-E take him off. I cannot watch the series because I have to switch channels every time he comes on. He is just so awful. Send him to do comedy but not a serious series like this.

  8. As an afterthought, Fishburne was really bad too. Grissom was great in the part, except when he started growing his beard. He seemed to be elsewhere, like dealing with personal or other problems.

  9. Absolutely love Ted Danson in csi was good idea to bring Fin in too just bought season 12 will try to collect them all but can be a very expensive project so the Danson seasons will be first

  10. CBS Does it again with false facts to justify an agenda!!!!!!! As a real CSI, I hate it when CBS distorts or out right lies with it’s writing of it’s shows to push an agenda!!! Tonight’s CSI episode “Girls Gone Wild” of CSI pushes another false hood on the average viewer. It is stated with AUTHORITY that an AR-15 can fire up to 700 rounds per minute!!! What a lie !!!! A sustained rate from an AR-15 semi auto is 12-15 per minute as each shot must have the
    trigger pulled and let go and pulled again to fire and a standard magazine has a 30 round magazine. Most average people can not even do the 12-15 figure. CBS pushes an agenda by falsifying facts to deceive the public. Next time I testify in front of a jury, they will bring up a distortion pushed by CBS in one of it’s shows. Shame on CBS to lie to push an agenda!! Why not tell the truth and let facts sway the populace.