Zuiker ‘Tiptoes’ Away From ‘CSI’

The CSI franchise has taken a back seat as creator Anthony Zuiker works on new projects.

With his first “Digi-Novel”, Level 26: Dark Origins, coming out September 8, Zuiker is concentrating on new ventures and leaving the forensic drama he created in capable hands. “I’ve been on the CSI franchise for almost a decade,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “So, I’ve tiptoed off. I still have a toe in the water.”

“I am developing new shows now, so that’s my top priority,” Zuiker continued. “I talk to the showrunners almost every day. I read the scripts, I give feedback, but for the most part the showrunners are so autonomous that they keep the shows up and running. On the major decisions, I’m involved but without discrediting all the work of the showrunners and the other producers; they’re the ones doing the heavy lifting.” Right now, the showrunners for all three series are “working on a unified story line,” Zuiker shared. As CSI Files previously reported, the franchise will have it’s first three-series crossover during the upcoming season.

Zuiker is not planning to add a fourth series to the hit franchise. “I think we’re done,” he said. “In terms of just doing the same formula but picking a fourth city, I think that wouldn’t be the wisest choice. We’re always trying to find different ways to kill people every week on our shows, so to have another show battling ways to kill people with the same formula would be irresponsible.”

Two members of the franchise, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York, will go up against Jay Leno‘s new primetime series starting this fall. “Jay Leno is great,” Zuiker said. “Do I love the fact that he’s five days a week and five slots have been taken away from television? I understand why NBC would do it, but I don’t necessarily agree personally. I think that five creators like myself have five great shows, and now five great slots have been gobbled up by one slot. I’m not so fearful of NBC doing that, I’m more fearful of CBS doing that.”

Flagship series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation won’t be going up against Leno this season, but the show has struggled a bit with the loss of leading man William Petersen (Gil Grissom) and the addition of newcomer Laurence Fishburne (Dr Ray Langston). “Well, William Petersen is a very tough loss, but the show must go on, so to speak,” Zuiker explained. “Obviously, great shows have survived, like ER after George Clooney, which went on to be a great success. But I think right now the show will shift to be more Larry Fishburne-centric. His character will really be worked on and he’ll just be made a more fabricated part of the story.”

The original interview is from The Hollywood Reporter.

Rachel Trongo

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Rachel Trongo

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