Ted Danson is joining the CBS crime drama CSI
as a series regular from the show's 12th season.
star is taking over from Laurence Fishburne, who left the show last month
after choosing not to renew his contract.
Danson will play a yet-unnamed character who previously worked as the head of the Portland crime lab's graveyard shift. He joins the Las Vegas crime lab as it deals with the aftermath of the death 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," show executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said in a press release. "We're very excited Ted Danson came along."
Danson is the third actor to join CSI
as the main male lead, following Fishburne, who succeeded William Petersen in 2008. Entertainment Weekly reports
that he won the role after CBS negotiated with the likes of Robin Williams, Tony Shalhoub and John Lithgow.
Danson won two Emmy Awards for his role as bartender Sam Malone in the long-running 80s sitcom Cheers, but also earned praise (and three Emmy nominations) for his portrayal of businessman Arthur Frobisher in Damages. He will continue to be a series regular on the HBO comedy Bored to Death.
I think this is an odd casting decision, but scoring Danson is a good move for CSI, who's been struggling over the past few years. He can certainly bring a sense of gravitas to the show much like his predecessors (Damages did make me forget about Sam Malone for a while) but whether the show will survive with this new set-up remains to be seen. Danson may be a relatively big name, but it depends on whether CSI still has some steam in its engines.
CSI kicks off its new season on September 21, in a new time slot: Wednesday nights at 10pm.