Ted Danson to replace Laurence Fishburne as CSI lead

The former Cheers star will head up the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation team

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Ted Danson will be the latest actor to head up the CSI Las Vegas crime lab after Laurence Fishburne surprised audiences and CBS bosses alike last month by announcing his departure from the long-running drama just two-and-a-half seasons in.

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Danson’s character will replace Fishburne’s Dr Ray Langston in the upcoming 12th season, joining the team as they continue to grapple with the repercussions of a dramatic season 11 finale.

Best known for his role as oversexed bar owner Sam Malone in 90s sitcom Cheers, Danson has seen something of a revival in recent years, having appeared in legal thriller series Damages, detective comedy drama Bored to Death and as himself in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

CSI executive producer Carol Mendelsohn welcomed Danson’s arrival, saying: “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. We’re very excited Ted Danson came along.”

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CSI has seen ratings drop since the departure of the original head of the department, Gil Grissom, played by William Petersen. The season 11 finale this May was the lowest rated yet, although CSI remains the most-watched TV series in the world. Whether Danson can revive its fortunes in America is yet to be seen.