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April 19, 2014

Jorja Fox Staying on 'CSI.' Will This Help the Ratings?

by Gary Susman, posted Oct 15th 2009 1:06PM
Jorja Fox on CSIThe latest puzzler for the 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation': How to stop a ratings slide that began with William Petersen's departure last season and has continued into a new season, during which the granddaddy of forensic procedural dramas has lost its crown as TV's top-rated scripted series to 'NCIS'? Answer? Stunts, starting with extending Jorja Fox's return to the show from temporary (five episodes) to indefinite.Jorja Fox on CSIThe latest puzzler for the 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation': How to stop a ratings slide that began with William Petersen's departure last season and has continued into a new season, during which the granddaddy of forensic procedural dramas has lost its crown as TV's top-rated scripted series to 'NCIS'? Answer? Stunts, starting with extending Jorja Fox's return to the show from temporary (five episodes) to indefinite.

Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files reports that 'CSI's' producers want to keep Fox's Sara Sidle around as long as they can. Executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told EW that Fox's return will last a lot longer than the five episodes initially slated. "From our point of view, the more the better," Mendelsohn said. "As many episodes as we can have Jorja for we want her for."

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Mendelsohn said of the mysterious Sara's return to the Las Vegas crime lab, "The season is about bringing the [CSI] family back together again," yet that doesn't mean Sara's husband, Gil Grissom [Petersen], will be coming back as well. Mendelsohn told EW that there are no plans for Petersen to return, but said that future episodes will offer some explanation as to their long-distance marriage. "We will address the fact that Grissom is somewhere else and Sara is living in Vegas," she said. "Everyone on the team is a little interested. They're like, 'What's the deal? Grissom's there, you're here, how does that work?' They are a very modern couple and they have a very healthy relationship. They have found a balance in their life that allows them to still feel fulfilled in their marriage and their careers. If it works for them, it works for us."

Instead of a return visit from Petersen's Grissom, we'll see a three-way series of crossover episodes built around his replacement, Laurence Fishburne's Ray Langston. Throughout the second week of November, in the heart of ratings sweeps month (when networks and advertisers give extra scrutiny to audience numbers), Langston will rack up the frequent flyer miles with appearances on all three 'CSI' shows as he tries to solve a murder case that takes him to Florida ('CSI: Miami,' Nov. 9), then Manhattan ('CSI: NY,' Nov. 11), and finally back to Vegas (Nov. 12). Severed limbs, organ trafficking, and prostitution rings will be involved. Fun for the whole family.

CSI


But can having Fox's fan-polarizing Sara settle in for a long stay, or Langston's cross-country crime-busting, can return 'CSI' to its former ratings glory? Or do you think Mendelsohn and co. will have to persuade Petersen (like Fox) to return from his self-imposed exile? And if he does, will that strike fans as a brilliant move or a desperate one?

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