Petersen & Tassler Discuss Damages-Benefits Of Spin-OffsBy Carolina
February 13, 2006 - 3:00 PM
William Petersen (Gil Grissom) told the Chicago Tribune why he was so against the creation of CSI: Miami and its spin-off CSI: New York.
"I thought the Miami version came too soon and that we should have taken the time to make it something different," he said. "It was just an attempt to duplicate. But Crossing Jordan came out a year after us, and Jerry Bruckheimer knew there would be others. 'Why should we let them steal our audience?' he asked. I understand the move from a business sense, and the profits have been astronomical."
Though Petersen sees the creation of Miami and New York as a decision born out of greed, the actor mostly resents the loss of CSI crew members to the spin-offs. "They pulled our show apart. Anthony [Zuiker, CSI creator] is now with CSI: NY full time. We have to fight to keep our writers, producers, even our best postproduction people. I wish they'd just make our show better."
CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler, however, sees things from a different perspective. "I can appreciate Billy Petersen's concerns about the CSI spin-offs, but what we learned from launching them is quite the opposite," she said. "Each spin-off has had its own identity and still reinforced the brand."
"The original CSI grew stronger once the spin-offs became entrenched. Like any good franchise, when there's a great story to be told, viewers can't get enough. As for the writers, successful series attract the best in the business," Tassler added.
Petersen's concern over the spin-offs might be short lived. Last year, the actor revealed his ongoing health problems had caused him to ask for fewer hours on the set of CSI, resulting in less screen time for Gil Grissom. This year, the actor said fans may soon have to say goodbye to the bug man for good. "The first three or four [seasons], I was dying. It was an excessive amount of stress. We were working nights and days. Nobody slept, and I developed heart problems."
"The show can go on without me, and probably will, but I want to come back to act in Chicago," he continued. "My wife and I just bought a condo downtown, and I want to do theater."
Visit the Chicago Tribune to read the rest of the article.