How CBS Is Making Over CSI - and Laurence Fishburne - This Season


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had a rocky season, and it's time for some course correction -- including a new wardrobe for Laurence Fishburne, CBS' entertainment president says.


"It wasn't just about losing William Petersen. That show went through monumental changes last season," acknowledges Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment.


At the network's fall-TV presentation for critics, Tassler enumerated the long-running show's many changes, including the departures of cast members Jorja Fox and Gary Dourdan and the arrival of Laurence Fishburne's Dr. Raymond Langston. "Fans were unsure about where the show was going," Tassler says. "They wanted to see the group back together."


Tassler says that the show's attempt to slowly bring Langston into the team might have backfired. "The challenge was to introduce [Fishburne] in a gradual way ... so he earns a position of power," she said. "[But] fans wanted to see him in a take-charge capacity." To be sure, Fishburne usually projects a commanding intensity in his performances (Hello, Ike Turner!).


But that's all about to change this season, Tassler promises. "He's much more settled in his role; he's more versed in the language of CSI."


Plus, Langston is getting a wardrobe makeover! "Our research says fans love him and respect him, but that they just want to see him more comfortable in his clothes," she says.


As for other changes, Jorja Fox's Sara Sidle will be back for the season's first five episodes, and at least one other character will have a different role. "Catherine is going to promote Nick [this season]," she said, referring to George Eads' character.


What do you think, CSI fans? Do these sound like steps in the right direction?


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