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CBS Readying the Fourth Incarnation of Its 'CSI' Franchise Deadline

CBS is working on a new spinoff of “CSI,” which will be the fourth series in the highly popular drama franchise. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the newest installment will focus on cyber crimes.

The new series will be written by “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker, “CSI” showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and former “CSI: Miami” showrunner Ann Donahue -- the same team behind "CSI: Miami," the story notes.

“The new project is not related to the ‘Cyber Crimes’ drama Zuiker created for CBS four seasons ago,” Andreeva writes. “Inspired by the work of Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken, the proposed ‘CSI’ spinoff centers on Avery Ryan, Special Agent in Charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico, Va., who is tasked with solving major crimes that start in the mind, live online, and play out into the real world.”

It’s not clear whether the spinoff will keep the “CSI” label or will switch to a new name -- along the lines of “NCIS,” which received a fresh name even though it was spun off from the military drama “JAG,” the story says.

Andreeva adds: “It makes sense for CBS to try to expand ‘CSI,’ which has been a billion-dollar franchise for the company and one of the most popular drama brands globally. The mothership series is now in its 14th season, ‘CSI: Miami’ ran for 10 seasons [and] ‘CSI: NY’ for nine.”

The report also notes: "Zuiker has been at the forefront of entertainment’s digital conversion, experimenting in the arena for the past decade. That has included his digi-novel 'Level 26,' which crossed over into 'CSI' to strong ratings, and his digital film 'Cybergeddon.'"

anthony zuiker.pngAnthony Zuiker