A key member of the Las Vegas "CSI" team won’t be back next season. Two published reports are in conflict as to who made the decision not to renew the contract.
Reports Lynette Rice at EW.com, "EW has confirmed that Laurence Fishburne, who joined the show more than two years ago in an attempt to fill the void left by William Petersen, will not return to CSI this fall."
She goes on to write, "In an interview with EW [on April 29, 2011], the film actor indicated that he wanted to return for another year as Dr. Raymond Langston. ‘I’m having a great time,’ he says, while acknowledging that it was a challenge replacing Petersen’s Grissom. ‘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.’ "
Rice writes that it looks like Fishburne was a victim of ratings that weren’t strong enough: "Despite his high-profile status as a film actor, Fishburne’s presence wasn’t enough to keep CSI’s ratings strong in the wake of Petersen’s departure. The show finished the season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49. It was ranked No. 30."
However, Nellie Andreeva of Deadline. com, whose story was posted 24 minutes before Rice’s story, writes that it was Fishburne who decided not to renew his contract, not the producers of ‘CSI" : "The Oscar-nominated actor’s deal on the show was up and he opted not to renew it…. I hear CBS and the veteran crime drama’s producers were not surprised by Fishburne’s decision. ‘Nobody expected him to be on the show for 7 years, it’s Laurence Fishburne,’ one insider said."
In her piece at EW.com, Rice also notes that show star Marg Helgenberger had previously told People that she will only be in "a few episodes" next season.