‘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 have to tell you that the hiring of Ted Danson was the most stupid idea since sliced bread he is a first class idiot and i for one will not be watching that show again and it was my favourite and i think many people will feel the same and to give him the main role is a joke.
    When Petersen left it was a big blow but i gave Fishburn a chance and found i liked him but Danson!!! you’ve got to be joking i’m afraid the show it destined for the scrap heap.

    • You know, I think that this is your opinion and you know what opinions are.

      My opinion, I think Ted Danson is doing a great job and you just are not giving him a chance.

    • I totally agree with JH Hambleton. I cannot stomach to watch what was once my favorite show. Ted Danson of all the actors available why him? I look at him and it brings back memories of that lousy show ‘Cheers’ that lasted way too long. What started out to be one of the best and innovative shows turned out to be a joke because of a very bad choice Ted Danson=Idiot

    • J,
      I totally agree. After seeing his first show it was terrrible. A fish out of water. This is a big chance they are taking puting a comic actor in this drama series. Seen two shows. Don’t like so far!!

      • A comic actor? I guess you didn’t watch Damages. Nothing comedic about what he did there.

        People never like change.

    • I agree, I agree

  2. But this is TV, and this is CSI. You cant not have them solve a case lol. You cant not have big explosions now and again, and you can’t not have great looking cast members. I always love the fingerprint matches that join up like a slide show and seem to hover in mid air as they go between each print. That is CSI !

    • Always watched CSI with Grissom and Sara there, quit watching after their departure, always hoped they would get together but did not want them to leave the show. Anyway, when I saw that Ted Danson was going to be on CSI, thought would give it a try and I THINK he will do well on the show though quite different from Grissom. Sara is still great, CAtherine, oh well, Greg precious, Brass still good and the rest of the cast OK. Takes them all to make the show what it was and is.

    • Double negatives. Can’t is a shortened version of cannot, you said “cannot not”. it just sounds funny When you say it like this it means, “they will have big explosions, and have great looking cast.” I dont know if you ment to say it like that. No problem. I have never seen Ted in CSI, but in Cheers (not very good actor) and in a movie (i think) and he wasnt a very strong actor. I was bored to tears by his performance.

  3. i have sean alot of bad comments about ted danson and i think we should give him a fare go and see how he go’s. i have watched every season of csi & csi ny i have every season of both on dvd so i will be watching him to see how he go’s. but i must agree with some of you out there csi miami should be the one to be scraped that david caruso gives me the craps nothing personal. i watched 5 minutes of the very first episode of csi miami and have never watched since and i will never watch it the best news i could hear is that being scraped and i wouldnt be the only one thinking that

  4. JH are you for real..first off sliced bread was a great idea. How do you define someone as an idiot if you really don’t know them. Not sure how you can define Ted Danson as an idiot, that really is an idiotic statment to me.
    I think Ted is a fine actor and if you actually have the capacity to be objective you might realize so far he is a good fit with the team. Even still it’s hard to make a fair assestment because his story has not been told, his story will unfold like good storytelling I hope. Whats not to like. Grissom was a charcter with a weird sense of humor and I think that is what Ted Danson will bring with the role but most importantly it will be how does he gel with the cast and can they deliver that to the audience.

  5. Nobody can replace Grissom….. he made the show. It has never been the same since he left. I only watch when nothing else is on. Ted Danson is terrible and doesn’t fit the role. I don’t know who’s making these decisions but suck it up and get Grissom back or I predict the show will be canceled after this season. It isn’t worth watching anymore. too bad it was my favorite show and Grissom was awesome.

  6. Grissom wont ever come back to CSI because he doesnt want to. He’s moved on. But I totally agree that when he left the show, the show died. The writers have been trying desperatly ever since to keep the show afloat but its been a useless task. Fishburn couldnt save it and I doubt Danson will either. There will never ever be another Grissom. He was CSI so now that he has gone, then so should the show. Its a shame, but nothing lasts forever. And yes, CSI Miami needs to go too. Caruso gives me the creeps, he always has done.

  7. i have watched ted danson on csi and i thought he did alright but only time will tell. il keep watching to see how he go’s

    • Ive just figured out how to use this forum duhhh. Is Ted Danson funny in his role ?

  8. is he funny ?

  9. I am liking Ted Danson’s character so far, and I like his characters sense of humor. You would need a sense of humor in a job like that.

  10. Ted Danson is a force! Once again, I’ll be watching CSI, avidly.

  11. I think it was the worst thing to put Ted Danson in CSI Las Vegas. He is just not the cop type…comedy yes but not cops. Please get him out of there or the show is ruined and you I am sure have seen your ratings drop and decline rapidly. Same with Horatio Cain….get him out of CSI Miami you need men in there with personality not callous or comedy type behaviors.
    CSI NY is the only one I still watch, but I will take Blue Bloods, NCIS and NCIS LV anyday over CSI Miami or now CSI LV. Ted Danson just ruined one of the best CSI’s.
    Mark Harmon is the best there is. I hope NCIS never goes off air. JAG was one of my fav’s as well….too bad it’s gone too. Why do you leave the junk on and take off all the good stuff?

  12. Get rid of Ted Danson with CSI LV and Caruso with CSI Miami….both shows are decling. CSI NY is the only one left with any character but Danny becoming a cop now, and with Maria K….the shows are loosing in quality.
    I’d take Blue Bloods, NCIS, NCIS LV anyday and HAWAII FIVE O….wow now that is what I call good cop shows.
    CSI your on your way out. Sorry, you take out the good ones and fill in others the shows go.
    NCIS did it right when Kate died, and Davida took her place now that was a good choice. She fit right in and did just as good if not better than Kate did. WOW….Now that’s a good producer!

  13. Ted Danson has breathed a new comedic tone to this franchise, which I’ve been watching since the first season, and I think he is a perfect fit!! I liked Grissom as much as the next person, but people need to move on from him. Last season was just as good, if not better, than the previous seasons. It was the first time since the season that had the miniature serial killer that there was a story that continued week to week. I only hope that this season does the same because the Nate Haskell season was intense and interesting. It had your crime-based, daily crimes and your crimes that affected the season in general. I, for one, don’t think that this franchise is declining at all! I love CSI LV and hate all the others (though I never gave them a chance haha).

  14. Ted Danson was a poor choice in that he is historically a comedic actor. If the CSI franchise producers wanted a serious audience to continue watching they should have found a serious actor. There is a prediction that the show is going to plummet with Danson. And,really, it is high time that all the CSIs start to evacuate TV. People are utterly bored with the whole CSI genre. The most boring place in police work is the laboratory, including the people that work there in real life. Basically, the white male and female police leader characters on America’s shows are also boring, and very predictable. When viewers see the same white lead role characters, it has just become a total turn off.

    It is long overdue that Latinos, Asians, and Blacks be the male and female lead role police characters, especially in America, and we do not mean creating nonwhite female cops being kissed and slobbered all over by white male cops. America is over 40% nonwhites, so it is about time to make nonwhite Americans the lead role police in crime dramas and have the whites as the criminals; and we do not mean criminal masterminds…because they are not…in real life.

    Hawaii Five-0 is a police crime drama about Hawaii, so full-blooded Hawaiians and not white Australians, and certainly not South Koreans should be the key leaders on the show. Making full-blooded Hawaiians appear ugly, fat, and comedic, or criminals on the show is just racist and very wrong. Full-blooded Hawaiians can never become bog audience attracting stars if they never get a chance to be a star on their own island.

    As to Laurence Fishburne leaving the show, well he was probably bored to death He was an action star; that is why he had a large fan base. But even fans were bored with watching producers turn him into a lab rat. They should have given him a gun, badge, and put him into the field as an action CSI veteran brought back in to solve, say a cartels brash attempt to kill up Law Begas and take over. But no, they bored Fishburne to death and then turned him into a killer, which again, was so typically racist.

    This is precisely why white and nonwhite veteran Hollywood actors shy away from TV because TV producers have absolutely no idea what to do with them. It will be good to see Fishburne back on the big screen. As for all the CSI franchises in different cities…they should cancel them all. They have all ran their course. So has putting British or Australians in lead roles that should be for Americans. American actors need jobs because England and Australia are not hiring, so why give British and Australians jobs. American producers had better learn to take care of Americans who made their shows famous. There are a lot of unemployed actors and actresses ‘born in America’ who need to have a more secure future in acting. But they cannot get a chance because greedy producers trying to syndicate their shows are importing too many foreign actors and workers.

  15. Morning Ted. So your the new Man well they shire picked a good ok Guy! What happen too Ray I injured him did he leave becouse he’s too old or what I though he was very good my best next too Conrad & Greg. Welcome too tge show & don’t fire no one if you do make it Chathren & Sara. I’m not so well these days bye & happy your 1 of them. Mimi

  16. Ok this is a legimate rant…why on earth is this a repeat? I mean, how many new shows have there been! So sick of repeats. Probably have been 5 shows. Ugh.I am not watching Cbs tonight

  17. This is terrible. I’m watching tonight because it’s a Laurence Fishburn rerun. I read on the Hollywood Reporter site that the producers “didn’t want a science nerd”. They seem to forget that many viewers watch because they LIKED William Peterson (especially) and Fishburn as science nerds. I still watch CSI – almost every day – in reruns.

  18. Im from the UK so we havent got the new season yet. Is it good or what ? What is Ted like in the role ?

  19. Are you guys for real? Ted Danson has to be one of the greatest actors ever. I don’t think any of us commenting here have even half the talent he does, and yet we still criticize him. Give him a chance, don’t discriminate against him because maybe he’s old, or maybe because he’s not as good looking as he used to be, or maybe even because he’s a comedy actor and not a ‘science nerd’. The praise he got on Cheers is proof enough. We laughed with him on Cheers, applauded him in Damages, appraised him on Bored to Death, and now we’re gonna love him again, on CSI.

  20. So is he good in the role then or not ?

    • Cherry,
      Yes Ted is good and getting better. His character is being flushed out episode by episode. I like his character.I think he is doing a great job so far. Haters can be excused..ooh did I say that outloud.

      • Thanks for letting me know. I cant wait to see him in action whenever that will be. I am in the UK.

  21. 11/16 was a very good episode. Ted’s character is getting better,more 3-dimensional. The character he plays fits in my opinion but TD is a very good actor..period. Good writing, best I have seen in awhile. Like the use of Jim Brass whom we don’t get to see him used as much as in the past.

  22. to those who dont like ted danson dont knock the man his character is starting to grow on me i think he is doing very well in the show and i think he will only get better with time if you dont like him dont watch him its as simple as that. but then again every one is title to a pinion

  23. Drop Dansen. He’s a screen hog. The team won’t last.

  24. I’m going to be nice about this, Ted Danson really needs to go. He just
    doesn’t fit the part, lets face it. When you watch a show like this you
    want to believe the character is into his part. Have you looked at your
    competition they are eating you alive. I do respect Danson as an actor
    but in the right part.

  25. Hello anybody.

    • Hello anybody – look if you decided you were not going to like Ted Danson – then you probably don’t. If you gave him an honest chance then there is no logical way you probably have not enjoyed some of the last few epi’s sans repeats. Writing is better, acting is good although I do miss Catherine. For a 12yr old series..they are breathing new life into the show.

  26. i recently got into this show(roughly 3months ago) and i have enjoyed every episode of it, sure i had my doubts when Warrick died and when Grissom left. But like any true fan to a show i still watched just to see where they were headed and i do have to say that Langston grew on me….then when i found out he wouldn’t return for Season 12 and would be replaced by Danson i thought that the show had run its course. Then i watched the first two episodes to see if Danson would ruin the show like i thought he would.Instead i actually enjoy his character he plays the quirkiness so well… but now that Catherine is gone i fear the show is done only Nick, Sarah and Greg remain and i feel that this should be the final season…but if william peterson decides to return i think the show would once again be a great success….oh and one final thing will we ever see Squeegel again???? that character actually creeped me out and i would like to see him again

    • Schmidty, I wouldn’t disagree with you. I think there have been so many character changes it’s really a wonder it’s lasted this long and is a testimony to how strong this show actually was. Not sure if the new characters are strong enough to keep it relevant. I like TD and think his character fits the show but the other new characters are so bland to me. I would like to see this African American female Chief, she has a walk on from time to time or expand Gregs part but last weeks epi was alittle bland to me.

  27. Sorry Ted, it’s not your fault, but I think it’s time to call it a ‘wrap’. I’ve only seen one storyline and that was one too many. CSI died when Wm. Petersen left – no one can better the best, but I doubt whether he could rescue it now even if he did come back. The original format was better than this cheap looking version, it was like watching a comedy show – even early NCIS was better, no wonder some of the original actors/production staff have left. It’s a sad end to what was once a great show, but there is no contest ‘Grissom’ wins every time.

  28. I think that ted danson is doing a terrific job on csi!!I agree that no1 will ever replace grissom but I liked the roll of lawrence fishburn and I really think danson is getting better as the series goes along!!way to go csi !I never miss a show and if I’m working then thank goodness for the dvr!!!.

  29. I love Ted Danson in his new role on CSI….wit, charms, intelligence & good looks.