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Ted Danson joins . . . 'CSI'

Actor Ted Danson attends HBO's "Bored To Death"

Actor Ted Danson attends HBO's "Bored To Death" premiere at Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. (Sept. 21, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Surprised? Sure. Ted Danson -- do we really need to bore you to death with the long list of credits? -- will become a series regular on "CSI" next season, CBS announced last night. He'll replace Laurence Fishburne who left at the end of last season.

Personally, I think it's an inspired move. Not sure why. I just think it's inspired. It is indisputably an interesting one. Danson has evolved as more of an elite cable star -- not that there's anything wrong with that. "Damages"..."Bored to Death"..."Curb Your Enthusiasm."

The common denominator here, besides "pay cable," is sort of this rakish, dry, bemused, smart, debauched (and in the case of  "Damages," evil) character with a gimlet-eyed view of the world. Fishburne and William Petersen arrived on set with big-screen reputations behind them -- which gave, or was certainly supposed to give, "CSI" an almost big-screen aura.

Danson's post-"Cheers" career has been in the exact opposite direction: He's tethered his career to a bit more of an art-house cable TV arc. (Yes, of course there were many movies, but those seem long ago and far away.)     

Will fans of this declining franchise embrace Sam Malone . . . err,  you know who I mean? Especially with the likely departure of other key players, like Marg Helgenberger, a likelihood? I don't see why not, but this will be a different show. 

Here is the news release, and the various particulars.

Danson will play the new 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 takedown 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."

"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."

Ted Danson will remain a series regular on the critically acclaimed HBO series, “Bored to Death.” He has also recently garnered accolades for his roles on “Damages” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Ted Danson will next be seen starring opposite Drew Barrymore and John Krasinsky in “Everybody Loves Whales” to be released in January 2012.

Mr. Danson recently published his first book, "Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them," currently available in book stores. Now entering its 12th season, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION is the most-watched television show in the world. CSI is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. The executive producers are Jerry Bruckheimer, Carol Mendelsohn, Anthony Zuiker, Don McGill, Jonathan Littman and Louis Milito.

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