The way “The End Game” ended, and with all the scuttlebutt about “CSI” being canceled because it’s a mature series with all the syndicated reruns they need and has gotten too expensive to make, I’m theorizing the following:
- Talks about continuing “CSI” are ongoing, last I heard. Cost of production is the primary factor.
- Finlay has been written out of the picture for as long as desired, whether permanently or temporarily. That’s a 6-figure budget saving.
- George Eads is out of the picture. Another 6-figure budget saving.
Ted Danson (D.B. Russell) is the highest-paid member of the cast right now. There has been talk of him leaving after this season. Two possible scenarios here:
- He leaves, saving a big 6-figure payroll;
- He takes a pay cut and stays put; still a 6-figure budget saving;
- Danson leaves and Marc Vann (Ecklie) takes over as head CSI; again a big budget saving.
I actually like the possibility of Vann taking the lead as Ecklie, if that’s how things turn out. He has a lot of plusses:
- He’s a known and established character;
- He has a known and highly evolved chemistry with the rest of the cast/characters;
- Marc Vann has shown himself to be a capable actor who can carry significant chunks of a story, and do it as an authority figure;
- Ecklie has been shown to have a lot of shades to his character, and that opens many story options.
I think that the way they wrote George Eads out of the series also opens up some other doors which I suspect are being explored, such as the possibility of a “CSI: San Diego” spinoff.
While there has been nothing on the internet about such a possibility, “CSI: San Diego” would make a lot of sense the way things have been left.
- Cast costs would be relatively moderate for at least the first several seasons;
- George Eads, the actor, has a following who will at least give the show a chance;
- Nick Stokes, the character, is well established and needs no introduction or tedious back-story narrative to bog down the series’ first few episodes.
If this spinoff is actually being considered (and if it’s not, it should be), casting would be key. A good ensemble cast is not easy to assemble. Getting the right chemistry among the characters AND the actors is an almost mystical process, and would make or break the show.
Having heard nothing so far about a “CSI: San Diego” starring George Eads, it’s probably a longshot to see it in the fall line-up, but a January premier might be possible. Let’s see how things play out…