CBS Eyeing Third 'CSI' Series
Fri Sep 5, 1:03 AM ET
By Nellie Andreeva
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS is in the early stages of developing a third installment in its red-hot "Crime Scene Investigation" series.
The network's chairman and CEO, Leslie Moonves, said Thursday he "certainly expects" a second spinoff to join CBS' lineup and called a potential fall 2004 launch of the new show "plausible."
The procedural drama franchise kicked off in 2000 with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which followed the exploits of forensics examiners in Las Vegas. A spin-off, "CSI: Miami," debuted last year.
CBS Prods. and series producer Alliance Atlantis took a key step in ensuring the franchise's longevity Thursday when they signed two "CSI" producers to lucrative long-term contracts.
Ann Donahue and Carol Mendelsohn will stay on board for at least four more seasons. Their pacts are said to be in the eight-figure range, which would make them the highest-paid female writer-producers in drama series television.
The agreements, which come on the heels of the three-year deal CBS and Alliance inked with "CSI" franchise creator Anthony Zuiker in June, secure the entire key creative team behind the series in place for the next few years.
The new pacts for Donahue and Mendelsohn -- who executive produce "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "CSI: Miami" with Zuiker, Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Danny Cannon -- will replace their existing deals, which were to run through the upcoming 2003-04 season.
The new agreements call for the two to continue as executive producers on the two shows and to develop new projects, including the planned third installment.
Additionally, Mendelsohn will continue as the showrunner on the flagship series, while Donahue will continue to run spinoff "CSI: Miami," which she co-created with Mendelsohn and Zuiker.