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Laurence Fishburne Quits 'CSI'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jun 8th 2011 5:05AM
Laurence FishburneTime to break out the handkerchiefs and wave good-bye to Dr. Raymond Langston: 'CSI' star Laurence Fishburne has decided to step down from the long-running procedural drama.

Deadline.com reports that after two seasons with 'CSI' Fishburne decided not to renew his contract when it expired in May. He is now expected to return to his movie career full-time.

'The Matrix' star was hired in 2008 as a replacement for William Petersen, and his departure leaves 'CSI' producers and writers with a major headache right before production's due to start on Season 12. Although Paul Guilfoyle is expected to stay on, some actors are still in contract talks, and Marg Helgenberger has said she will appear in only a few episodes next season.

Many 'CSI' insiders were reportedly unsurprised by Fishburne's decision, with one saying: "Nobody expected him to be on the show for seven years, it's Laurence Fishburne."

However, he did recently tell 'Entertainment Weekly' that he wanted to stay with the show. "I'm having a great time,'' he said, while acknowledging that replacing Petersen's character of Gil Grissom had been a challenge.

"I was cognizant of the fact that Grissom was a much-beloved character. I made it my business to sit down and watch almost every episode of 'CSI' from Season 1 until I came on. It was about understanding the world and becoming as immersed in the show as possible. I love it.''

Meanwhile, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn told 'EW' that the Season 11 finale was a cliffhanger in more ways than one. "Most of our actors are negotiating for next season, so at the moment we don't know. It must be a test for the writers of 'CSI.' We always start planning for next season without knowing for sure."

Hiring an expensive movie star of Fishburne's caliber was a risky strategy for 'CSI.' Petersen and Helgenberger were a winning team for nine seasons, and 'CSI' was a primetime ratings grabber for CBS. However, by the time Petersen left, the veteran show was starting to shed viewers, and although Fishburne was judged to be worth his estimated $14 million salary in his first season, by the end of Season 11 ratings were way down on 'CSI's glory days, and it dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time.

The drama was already facing a new challenge in Season 12 as it moves to a new day and time slot, airing on Wednesdays at 10PM ET instead of Thursdays at 9PM ET. Speculation's now rife about who will replace Fishburne, and wishful thinking will have a lot of fans hoping for the return of Grissom. Whatever happens with casting, it's likely that 'CSI' will have to be drastically retooled, and in this era of lower salaries and budget cuts execs will probably hire a less prestigious -- less expensive --actor.

'CSI' Season 12 premieres in the fall on Wednesdays at 10PM ET, on CBS.

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aacluque

LF as Langston was the best and most beliveable character the show has ever had, baring none. His expressions, his mannerisms, his deep seductive volice, almost hypnotic and his expertise. But how he bonded with the team was incredible and outstanding and made ths series the best ever. A crime to have let him go, and now Ted Danson, how awful and painful please.. and embarassing, no talent for this show he needs to go and we need to get LF back at any cost!!!

November 06 2011 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
craigvandertie

As for Mr. Fishburne, I have seen The Matrix and Event Horizon, which are probably the movies he starred or co-starred in that were the most popular, since I have never seen his stage performances are or read theatre reviews I do not know highly rated he is. As to prior comment as for movies opposed to tv I think he should have stayed with CSI,

September 23 2011 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gcs1103

Okay, now that the new season is on and Ted Danson is the new guy.....I HATE IT SO MUCH. I DO NOT LIKE HIM AS A ACTOR...MOST LIKELY, I PROBABLY WON'T WATCH.

September 22 2011 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gcs1103's comment
craigvandertie

Why do you not give Ted a chance before you trash him. Cannot believe you did not like him in Cheers or Becker I thought he was excellent in the way he portrayed those characters.

September 23 2011 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
van2529

how about bary sanisse since csi ny i heard my not return. also chris meloni det stabler he is not returning to
law and order ,tom selleck , kevin spacey,or wallberg of true blood . briget moynahan of true blood .
i have watch all the csi ,ny ,miami etc . william petrson is the best bet why he left i ant recall.
also mandy patkin of criminal minds or samuel l jacson . van2529@aol.com

June 22 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to van2529's comment
craigvandertie

You had better check your facts since a type-o is highly unlikely, it is Gary Sinise not Bary Sanisse.

September 23 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
craigvandertie

Mr. Patinkin would probably be a good choice, thought he was great as Jason Gideon as for Selleck, or Wahlberg as you say they are already spoken for.

September 23 2011 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tommy

It'a about time ! I stopped watching when he came on ! Do not like his acting ! I hope the get someone better to replace him!

June 14 2011 at 7:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph

they may as well keep up thier hollywood recruiting maybe they can get kim k for female role and johnny depp for fishbone replacement.

June 14 2011 at 12:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hq129x

His acting on csi was drier than old shoe leather.

June 14 2011 at 12:27 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
patty and tony

I WOULD LOVE GIL GRISSOM TO RETURN....THAT WHOLE CAST TOGETHER WAS GREAT, JUST LIKE THE GANG AND NCIS.......NCIS LA IS ALSO GOOD =, BUT WOULD RATHER WATCH THE GOOD WIFE (GREAT SHOW)

June 13 2011 at 6:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
VIVIAN FERRARO

I really like Mr. Fishburne as an actor however, I never felt he was quite right for the role. The show has really seen it's day. Maybe it should ride off into the sunset with Mr. Fishburne.

June 12 2011 at 8:40 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
myste98325

It's another one of my favorite shows, I wish they would quit messing with the cast. Make the descion for the long hall, or don't. Your veiwing audience, gets used to you all being together, that's what makes the show. Brats!!!!!!!

June 12 2011 at 2:04 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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