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Should the current season of CBS’ veteran procedural CSI: Crime Scene Investigation end this season, the show’s creator would not be happy.
“I would not be satisfied [if season 15 was the end],” creator Anthony Zuiker told The Hollywood Reporter after presenting spinoff CSI: Cyber to the press at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “I think CSI should go as long as it wants to go. I feel like we have such amazing talent with [stars] Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue that it hopefully goes for a long, long time.”
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In its 15th season, CSI was moved from Wednesday to Sunday, where it has seen its ratings tumble double digits year-over-year. The CBS Television Studios drama, which last season saw co-showrunner Carol Mendelsohn exit, lost its crown as the most watched TV show in the world last year after network and studio sibling NCIS took up that mantle.
In a perhaps telling sign of its future, CBS reduced CSI‘s episode count from 22 episodes to 18 to make way for midseason fare including CSI: Cyber, its third spinoff series, and Vince Gilligan‘s and Howard Shore‘s Battle Creek, which takes over its Sunday slot beginning March 1.
“When I first started this, it was my first television script, the goal was to get to 13 [episodes] and then get the back nine. You sit here 15 years later at almost a thousand episodes and you say to yourself, ‘We’re playing with the house’s money at this point,’ ” Zuiker said. “We’re very grateful and blessed to go this far. We do the best we can and we hope that the powers that be say, ‘Hey, come on back.’ “
CSI has seen its fair share of cast departures over the years. George Eads, one of its last remaining original stars, previously announced plans to exit CSI at season’s end, while leading man Danson has already signed on to co-star in season two of FX anthology Fargo. His commitment to Fargo — produced by FX Productions and MGM TV — sources said, was to be filmed during his hiatus from CSI, though any potential overlap now won’t be an issue.
Zuiker, meanwhile, said producers are “trying to find the best season theme possible” before pitching the network a potential 16th season and “hopefully be invited back.”
Earlier in the day, CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler told reporters that the network hasn’t “determined yet what is going to happen” with CSI.
“The show continues to be a strong performer,” she said. “It does very well in its time period. You look at the journey that show has gone on, and adding Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue has really taken the show in a whole new direction. So we don’t know yet what is going to happen with the show. We’re just incredibly proud it continues to do well.”
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