"CSI is a combination of a really interesting new concept and a phenomenal cast" Anthony Zuikerga - 'CSI' co-creator, writer, executive producer


One of the shows that has helped AXN do well in the ratings sweepstakes is Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). The drama sees forensic experts using their skills to solve crimes.

The pedigree show has helped attract women to the channel. The channel will now start to air the second spinoff CSI: NY. In this tete-a-tete with Indiantelevision.com the show's co-creator, writer and executive producer and Anthony Zuiker shares his thoughts on the show.

It is reported that when you pitched CSI six or seven years ago a lot of studios turned it down, but Alliance was the one who decided to take it on. Can you talk about what happened?

ABC had passed the script. I was informed that one of the presidents was moving up. With NBC and CBS I was too late in the pitching season. Usually CBS pitches take a year, I pitched in October and I believe the season ends in August.

I was also finishing a movie for Leonardo DiCapricio called Wanne Be. I called Dina Tasler at CBS and she informed me that they were going younger with Survivor and told me if I could write a great pilot she would ensure that it would go air. And I wrote the best script and like they say the rest is history.

Why do you think viewers are so fascinated with CSI?

I think that it is a combination of a really interesting new concept combined with phenomenal cast. William Peterson, for me, is the glue of the franchise. Without William Peterson saying yes to me, there would be no CSI.

He probably is one of the greatest television characters in TV history. And for him not to win an Emmy or be nominated at this juncture is a tragedy for me because to play a character that can make evidence interesting, who plays a listener, who plays a thinker, an entomologist, to play curious is such a defined discipline. He is just a phenomenal actor and I believe he should be recognised at some juncture. He really is the heart and soul of the franchise.

Are you planning on expanding to Europe maybe CSI: Europe?

I think that if you took Clive Owen and put him in an international city the show would be a hit. Clive Owen is my new favourite actor and arguably one of the top actors in the world.

"William Peterson, for me, is the glue of the franchise. Without William Peterson saying yes to me, there would be no CSI."

When you started creating Crime Scene New York was Gary Sinise your first choice?

I think he was on the short list. My first phone call was to Andy Garcia. But he was busy doing a movie. Then we went to Gary Sinise who was considered a long shot to say yes to television. And after about four hours of him and I speaking, we saw eye to eye on a lot of things creatively and he decided to give a kid like me a shot.

Why do you have an old song by a British group at the very beginning of every episode of "CSI: NY"?

CBS was looking for a timeless rock song. I though of the song Who Are You? And then when we did Miami, I said why not play The Who again? And then we did New York, why not play "The Who" again? So we did three Who songs, and I think if we did a fourth show, which I doubt, but if we did a fourth show it would be something like I can see for miles and miles.

A lot of cases are based on reality. Wouldn't it be a real reality that one wouldn't be solved, a crime?

We do it all the time. We've done many shows where we haven't solved the crime, many shows. That is reality.

But you always manage to find some DNA?

There's no show if we can't find anything for an hour of television, so you're going to find something. But the ratio is about 85-90 per cent that you will solve the crime. Sometimes you don't. And it's a good way to kind of mix it up a little.

What about doing a movie CSI?

I think that's possible. I think something in the future maybe. I think that people will be willing to go see a CSI movie.

How much input does your wife give to your creative aspect?

She usually sits with me and recommends that I should watch few good shows to get couple of ideas. She was right. My wife is the perfect viewer. She knows what's good. She knows what's bad. She has a gift like that.

Do you make changes based on her opinions?

Not really. I don't really run things by her. I make changes only when I am convinced. We separate business from the marriage.

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