Moonves Not Desperate For 4th 'CSI'

By Caillan
December 1, 2004 - 9:57 AM

CBS head honcho Les Moonves yesterday said the network currently has no plans for a fourth instalment of the CSI franchise.

"We're not there yet," Moonves said when asked about the possibility of another spin-off of the forensic franchise during a conference call with reporters, according to New York Daily News' Marisa Guthrie. But the hestitation doesn't mean executives aren't pleased with audience numbers for CSI's Big Apple incarnation. "We're very happy with the performance of the new one," he said. CSI: New York has been putting up a tough fight against veteran NBC drama Law & Order in the Wednesday 10:00 p.m. series, often beating the established legal drama in the ratings.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami usually number among the top five most-watched programmes for the week, with CSI: New York hovering just outside the top ten. Moonves said it's clear the network can sustain three separate CSI programs: "We go by what our audience is telling us," he told the Washington Times. "We're not burning out the franchise."

Despite CBS airing the pivotal episode "Mea Culpa", in which the original CSI team is split up, the Las Vegas crime lab was deposed from the number one slot last week by this year's most-talked about show, Desperate Housewives. The ABC drama netted 27.2 million viewers, while CSI suffered from the traditional downturn in viewership on Thanksgiving evening, coming second with 24.4 million, according to the Associated Press.

There has been talk that Desperate Housewives, which has breathed new life into the ratings-starved ABC, could replace CSI as the most-watched television program. Asked his opinion on the rival network's new hit, Moonves didn't beat around the bush: "It's my favorite show from an enemy. It's the one show I wish we had."

CSI: Miami secured third place among the top ten programs for the week beginning November 22, with an average audience of 22.1 million tuning into "Pirated". CSI: New York's "Three Generations Are Enough" scored 13.5 million viewers, dropping from twelfth to eighteenth on the weekly list.

The original reports can be found at the New York Daily News, Washington Times and San Francisco Chronicle.

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