February 18, 2014 12:45pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CBS Orders 'CSI' Spinoff From Creator Anthony Zuiker
CBS is going back to the CSI well.
The network is teaming with series creator Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue for a spinoff of the long-running procedural, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Zuiker, Mendelsohn and Donahue will pen the script for the back-door pilot. The spinoff, which will air as a spring episode in the procedural's current 14th season, is inspired by Mary Aiken's work as a cyber-psychologist. Mendelsohn, Zuiker and Donahue -- who was a showrunner on CSI: Miami -- will executive produce the CBS Television Studios entry alongside Bruckheimer Television's Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. Aiken will receive a producer credit.
The spinoff explores technology, as we know it, and how it has amplified human behavior to the point where faceless criminals are committing crimes at global proportions with a touch of a button. Avery Ryan, special agent in charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico, VA, is tasked to solve high-octane crimes that start in the mind, live on-line, and play out into the real world.
The CBS Television Studios series ranks as one of the top global franchises in the world, and is seen in almost every country across the globe. The flagship series has already spawned -- and outlived -- two spinoffs: CSI: NY and CSI: Miami, which ran for 10 and nine seasons, respectively.
The new CSI comes as CBS is also prepping a spinoff of its top drama NCIS, with a New Orleans-set two-part episode set to air as a planted pilot later this season starring Scott Bakula. The network previously tried to spinoff NCIS: LA last year with NCIS: Red, but the project was passed over in May.
For Zuiker, the new CSI spinoff is outside of his ABC Studios deal, where his Dare to Pass banner is under an overall deal.
This brings CBS' drama haul to nine, down two year-over-year, for a total of 18 -- off five from 2013. CBS Television Studios' tally inches up to 17, down one from a year ago. The new CSI pilot marks the fifth spinoff of the season, joining NCIS: New Orleans, CBS' How I Met Your Dad, The CW's Supernatural: Tribes and Arrow effort The Flash.
For her part, Aiken is a cyber-psychologist who previously worked on TV3's primetime drama Crime in Mind.
Zuiker is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment and Morris Yorn; Mendelsohn is with WME and Jackoway Tyerman; Donahue is with WME. Aiken is with WME. The CSI spinoff marks Zuiker's latest look at technology following his web series Cybergeddon.