Ted Danson takes over 'CSI' from Laurence Fishburne


Image Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The crime scene behind the yellow tape just got a lot more interesting on CSI.

CBS is set to announce that Ted Danson will take over for Laurence Fishburne as the drama’s leading man for the show’s 12th season. Danson will play the CSI supervisor for the grave shift after heading the crime lab in Portland. 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.

“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,” said executive producer Carol Mendelsohn. “We’re very excited Ted Danson came along.”

Danson — the veteran Emmy-winning TV actor who was most recently seen toking doobies with Zach Galfianakis on HBO’s Bored to Death -- replaces Fishburne, who left the series in May after CBS declined to renew his contract. Fishburne came to the drama more than two years ago in an attempt to fill the void left by William Petersen (Gil Grissom). Despite his high-profile status as a film actor, Fishburne’s presence as Dr. Raymond Langston wasn’t enough to keep CSI’s ratings strong in the wake of Peterson’s departure. The former Top 5 show finished the season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49, ranked No. 30.

The casting of Danson caps off an exhaustive search by CBS to find another star worthy enough to help return some luster to the aging CSI franchise. EW learned that offers went out to actors like Tony Shaloub, Robin Williams and John Lithgow before the studio landed on Danson, who’s been enjoying a career resurgence thanks to a critically-acclaimed run on Damages. He received three Emmy nominations for playing Arthur Frobisher on the (onetime) FX drama. Danson will remain a series regular on Bored.

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

Presumably for investigating crimes.

Read more:
Who should replace Laurence Fishburne on ‘CSI’?
Laurence Fishburne exits ‘CSI’

Comments (248 total) Add your comment
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  • devomblr.tumblr.com

    Will he still be on Bored to Death? I love him on that show!!

    • TimeToCancel

      read! it says YES.

      • Dave

        Does it bother anyone else that, obviously, a real person posts the first part of the comment and then pastes the spam underneath, yet never takes the time to, I don’t know, correct all of the spelling errors?

      • Karen

        “Lydia” – shut the eff up and take your spam elsewhere – L’O’S’E’R’ !!!

      • Jim

        Lydia apparently needs to get some…

      • Andrew


        They actually just copied someone’s comment too haha

      • jac

        Lydia shut up

    • Jenckles

      Perhaps THE oddest casting decision in like…ever! So weird!

      • graeme

        Really? Have you seen Ted Danson’s dramatic work (i.e. Damages)? He’ll be able to handle this no problem.

      • wiseguy

        Ted Danson is generally known as a comedic actor notably due to Cheers but his work in the drama Damages has proven that he is a very versatile actor. CSI producers did right in hiring him for CSI which needs a veteran actor to anchor the series.

    • DTO

      So crazy it just might work.

      • Lucy


    • imo

      Right. I seem to remember him and Whoopi Goldberg; blackface; and offensive jokes.

      Won’t watch CSI anymore w/him on board.

      • ALM

        Man, you hold grudges for a heck of a long time.

      • imo

        Yup, w/this one I do. Whoopi was equally responsible; but, that Danson thought blackface and jokes about Whoopi’s ***** were okay…

        I’m sure there are people who never want to see Isiah Washington in anything b/c of his homophobic behavior on GA…

        The good thing is that I DON’T have to watch. Changing the channel is always an option.

      • Rock Golf

        Yeah, he was so racist that he was living with Whoopi Goldberg. Sigh.

      • james

        You’re a moron.

      • james

        ***in reply to the original post

      • buctootim

        Whoopi wrote the jokes. If you want someone to blame her. What he said was cringe making embarassing, but not malicious. Important distinction imo

    • KLH

      As a cadaver? Sorry :)

      • SUE

        That would be great ! I could stand him as a corpse…………

  • TimeToCancel

    nah — not gonna work.
    time to put a stake in this show.

    • Solange

      I agree. Time to end the show gracefully

      • Em

        Problem is, the last season that would be considered going out on a high note was 5 years ago during season 7. Anything past that just went down hill.

    • Catherine

      Agreed. Talk about jumping the shark. I stopped watching CSI a few years ago, but if I hadn’t, this probably would’ve done the trick.

      • Nureddin

        Hilarious! Here I am reading my Favorite blog out there, so excietd to see how much everyone loves Bored to Death, daring myself to write a comment saying how proud I am of my dad (T.D) and…low and behold I find my step sister Lilly’s comment!!I’m so happy you love him so much, seeing as I pretty much always agree with everything you love, J.G!

  • Reese Mitchell

    The problem with Laurence Fishburne’s character is he was never developed to a state that was interesting. Not to mention (which I won’t) he fat as fill in the blank here.
    Ted Danson should bring some needed character to the show, that is if they develop one for him.

    • T

      You’re a “fill in the blank” douchebag.

    • mallah

      I still think he (Fishburne) should have come in as a supervisor. With the character’s experience it would have been natural.

      • Vic Nardozza

        Lawrence Fatburne should come in pushing a coffee cart and selling donuts, something he obviously has a tast for.

  • annasophia

    I haven’t seen Ted Danson on anything recently (since Cheers and Three Men and a Baby so I’m not sure if he’s going to work. I don’t think his acting style meshes well with CSI but I’ll guess we’ll have to see…

    • MCS

      He was one of the highlights of Damages whilst he was on it. He does drama surprisingly well.

      • Sarah

        This. I was sad that they more or less wrapped up his character’s storyline this past season. I loved his showdowns with Glenn Close!

      • Laura

        Sarah, I agree. He was great with Glenn. I’m excited to see him on CSI. I’m really positive it will work and bring up the ratings… :)

  • AK

    Tony Shalhoub, Robin Williams and John Lithgow? So they were looking for a broadly comic (and often irritatingly so) type? I’m so glad they went for Ted Danson instead.

    • Steve

      Lithgow would have been good. Before 3rd Rock he was largely cast in dramatic roles.

      • LMNOP

        Talk about your versatile actors: Lithgow. That guy is in a class with very few other actors. Always enjoy his performances.

    • shouki

      His comic character in Cheers will stain any attempt to be a Gil Grissom.

  • BlueGrass

    CSI, like Ted Danson’s career, is dead. So they deserve each other.

    • DTO

      Danson’s career isn’t dead. He’s winning accolades on cable TV, which is where most of the better written shows are these days.

      • G8rfan

        I agree. He was fantastic on Damages.

    • Tim

      I agree Ted Danson is a horrible actor, give it up Ted do us a favor and retire for GOOD!

    • caseyvet

      Tim, you said it all.

    • Mehjabin

      Pois e9, Simone, quando em outro post eu conmteei sobre o Ted Danson, e9 porque tinha essa lembrane7a dele de ator de come9dia meia boca . Como ne3o acompanho Damages (sim, ne3o de1 pra ver todas as se9ries ), ne3o tinha essa refereancia dele.Mas, realmente, ne3o sei se pode ser pior que o Dr. Langston eu tinha uma grande expectativa com relae7e3o ao L. Fishburne por causa do Matrix e realmente a presene7a dele na se9rie ne3o ajudou em nada

  • jmag

    SOOO wierd.

  • reel_deal

    Robin Williams would have been interesting, Danson? Maybe.

    • Jon

      Yeah, Robin Williams would have been great: picking up all the evidence and just riffing on it for 10 minutes.”Oooh loook, a knife! Hello knife!…”

      • Kiki

        In my head, that was so Mrs. Doubtfire’s voice. Funny.

      • Becky

        Not to mention Robin Williams guest spot on SVU was so bad it’s the episode that made me finally stop watching that show.

  • mark

    I think it is a great decision after seein Ted Danson on Damages. I think he might save the show if people tune in and see how good he is.

  • bruno

    oh wait, you’re serious. uhhh…o…k….?

    • WieWied

      None of those popele are worth that kind of money with popele starving in our own country and others. Athletes don’t do anything to deserve the kind of money they are paid either. Anyone who can’t live on $100,000/year is ridiculous. Many popele manage on far less. That high pay is why stars like Charlie Sheen can go on a rampage and ruin a good show and screw over the other stars in the show. In my mind, it’s disgusting.

  • Woody Boyd

    Danson’s TVQ rating probably helped CBS decide too. I think Danson’s great, just never occurred to me that he would take over after two other actors, in a series. No doubt CBS parked a trailer full of green in Ted’s driveway!

  • tam

    All depends on how the character is written if TD will work. Could be good or could go very wrong.

  • julia

    very strange casting..

  • TR

    Sounds like they went with a proven, likeable (i.e. SAFE) star to keep the show going for a couple of more years.

    Not a huge fan of his since Cheers, but since i don’t watch CSI, no problem for me.

  • Max

    No way..this is not going to turn out well. Ted? doubt he can uplift the rating..

    • Dave

      To really improve CSI they should have elevated Catherine to the lead role and brought in another investigator or two.

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