'CSI': Post-William Petersen ratings are down...but not for long?

Csi_lNot surprisingly, CSI has seen a dip in viewers since star William Petersen left the show Jan. 15, but no one seems to be wringing their hands at CBS. The series has only lost 8 percent of its viewers — from 19.9 million people down to 18.38 million — after Laurence Fishburne (pictured) replaced Petersen. The losses are more prominent in the all-important 18-49 demographic (the series is down 13 percent); insiders concede that some of the decreases can be attributed to growing competition from ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, especially given all the interest in Izzie’s mortality of late (nope, she’s not dead…yet!).

CSI still has the ability to attract the rubberneckers. The March 5 episode featuring Taylor Swift in a guest-starring role as a murder victim averaged a hefty 20.9 million viewers — the show’s fourth-most-watched episode this year. And producers are hoping to lure even more on April 2, when CSI celebrates its 200th episode. It was directed by The Exorcist‘s William Friedkin and focuses on Mexican wrestling (and yup, there’s even a wink-wink-nod-nod to devil extractions). Other upcoming episodes feature Henry Thomas (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial) as a convicted killer, and Dr. Al’s Robert David Hall delving into a mysterious disease that ravages healthy people.

addCredit(“Sonja Flemming/CBS”)

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Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • LisaMay

    the loss of viewers is due to the fact that Fox moved Hell’s Kitchen into the same time slot!!

  • CC

    If I’m not mistaken, they got huge numbers of female viewers in the demo from the episode with Taylor Swift. Maybe if they had more women on the show, instead of outnumbering them 3 to 1, they might go back to doing better. Grissom was awesome, Sara was awesome, the two of them together was awesome. The show is still excellent but it’s missing a little bit of the heart that was there before.

  • sarapals

    The fire that was CSI is gone–there may be a spark left in Nick, Greg, and Catherine but unless CSI changes course, we will be occasional viewers, not the loyal ones of the past. It has become the “Ray Langston Show”, not CSI. So get off the new star and back to the old team/ensemble cast, please! Oh, and why high rating for “Turn Turn Turn”–it was Nick Stokes!

  • stacyMac929

    Yeah, I have to agree a bit on this. Since Grissom leaving the show, it really hasn’t been the same. He definitely was “something special” to watch him work on the cases, solve the crime, etc. But the story lines of “who done it and how” still makes it strong, I think. Lawrence Fishburne is doing a pretty good job so far, even though he’s not the one who has replaced Grissom’s spot, that’s now Katherine (who is not so much fun to watch). Who knows, if the writers keep up the good stories, I think they’ll be okay.

  • Jodi

    CSI was always one of my favorites. The loss of Grissom, though, is hard to take. Sarah–meh; I could take or leave her and the Grissom/Sara thing was just irritating. I watch CSI to see them solving crimes/mysteries. I couldn’t care less about who’s sleeping with who. Don’t turn it into a soap opera. I hope the writers got that idea out of their systems when Grissom and Sara left. Now, let’s get back to the fun stuff: bodies, and crime and mystery.

  • Em

    I think they’ve handled the transition well. The actor who was the star of the show left. The show has done the best they can do given that circumstance. I think they’ve handled the introduction of Fish with a soft hand and grace. Don’t punish the show by holding a grudge against it for the personal career choice of an actor.

  • ee

    I agree that they handled the transition from Petersen to Fishburn well, but increasingly, the show centers more and more around the new guy. Give us our ensemble back, please. Now that we’re rid of Sara (and I’m sorry Grissom had to go to make that happen) there’s an opportunity to let the folks who have made the show from the beginning have their time in the spotlight. CSI is at its best as an ensemble show where the focus is on good actors carrying the characters who solve the crimes. Let them do that while the new guy makes his bones, as it were?

  • Jennifer

    I honestly rarely watched many episodes of season 8 (2007-2008). The reason was that it was getting boring. It wasn’t until Warrick was being framed that I started watching it again. Then when he died I noticed the episodes started missing something and not just Warrick. When Petersen (Grissom) announced that he was leaving that’s when I started becoming more involved as it was once again interesting. Laurence Fishburn (Ray) was the perfect fit. He had the intelligence that the show needed. I personally thought that CSI would be over…. until Fishburne arrived. Without him the show would end with no doubt. He fit Petersen’s shoes better than I anticipated. He has held up to his standards as well. The shows ratings did decline, but was due to Grey’s Anatomy and it started declining long before Petersen plannned to leave. It’s ratings are expected to increase more in the upcoming season. Fishburne has been great!

  • geri

    i really dont care for the show

  • Lana

    I stopped watching CSI when Grissom left; orange guy in MIAMI is annoying: so I only watch NY

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