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Must-See TV for Fall

Aired August 8, 2003 - 11:40   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: "CSI Miami" gears up for another season of forensic intrigue. So what will the producers do to keep viewers hooked?
Joining us with a preview of what's ahead for "CSI Miami" and the original "CSI" is the creator and the executive producer Anthony Zuiker. He's in our New York bureau.

Good to see you.

ANTHONY ZUIKER, CREATOR, EXEC. PROD., "CSI" & "CSI MIAMI": Thank you. Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: All right, so how are you going keep viewers hooked on both "CSI Miami and CSI?" Because it's hot now, but you want to keep the streak going, don't you?

ZUIKER: Absolutely. We have a great game plan. It's called assume nothing. We will go smaller this year, do more grounded stories, more grounded forensics, and really keep it intricate and go back to the first season where was really and exciting, and we're looking forward to a great year this year.

WHITFIELD: Now have you discovered that you really have a different audience for "CSI Miami" versus "CSI?"

ZUIKER: Well, there is a loyal audience base for "CSI." There's people who will watch "CSI" that won't watch "Miami," people who watch "Miami" who won't watch "CSI," then there's people like my mother who watch both.

WHITFIELD: Somehow you have to keep everybody happy. How do you do that?

ZUIKER: Right. Right. We try to better ourselves every week, really push the forensics, push the stories, notch up the directors and the execution. And with the Bruckheimer style of moviemaking for television, we hope people will tune in and enjoy it.

WHITFIELD: And both of your shows are known for the graphic detail of the forensics of the science behind crime solving. How do you try to keep it real?

ZUIKER: Well, we have tech advisers on set that are real CSI's in Los Angeles. We have an amazing staff of researchers that come in and give us great authentic stories, on top of the fact that our makeup affects, a person that's up for the Emmy this year, just does phenomenal work in terms of making arms, and legs and faces and gore. And so, it's a combination of just very talented people behind the scenes that make "CSI" what it is.

WHITFIELD: Would you agree that part of the gore is part of the lure of the show? Folks kind of want to see a lot of that, so you have to kind of keep it coming?

ZUIKER: I think so. I think the show is kind of like a car wreck. You want to keep watching it, but you don't want to turn away. And because people know it's not real and it's make believe, and people are out there solving crimes and giving a great mystery week to week, I think that's what lures viewers to watch.

WHITFIELD: And while these are shows that are very admired, do you also kind of worry about the potential competition out there that there may be some other spin-off or another network trying to copy what it is that you're doing?

ZUIKER: It's the same scenario like Las Vegas -- the more hotels they build, the more people come. I think the more forensics shows that are on the air really vindicates our show being the original. I see our show like the "Sopranos" -- you know, there can be a lot of Italian knock-offs, but there is only one "The Sopranos," same thing for forensic shows, there's only "CSI" out there.

WHITFIELD: All right, I guess imitation is the best form of flattery anyway, right?

ZUIKER: Right.

WHITFIELD: All right, so give us some little tidbits -- what can we expect on these shows as they open up the season in the fall?

ZUIKER: Well, the thing is, for "CSI," expect the last five minutes to have the biggest twist in the franchise's history. We will also do a scavenger hunt during sweeps which will have Grissom going from like Zumanity (ph) and possible Siegfried and Roy and different places in Las Vegas, with real Las Vegas headliners actually in the episode. And everything is gearing towards sweep this years.

So for Miami, you will see a lot more grounded, political-based stories, a lot shot on location in Miami, and it should be our biggest year to date for "Miami" and "CSI."

WHITFIELD: All right, Anthony Zuiker, thanks very much, the creator and executive producer of "CSI" and "CSI Miami." We really are so glad that you were able to join us and give us an idea of what to expect in the fall.

And who knows, maybe we'll have you back, right. We could talk in more detail about this kind of thread that you're going to be weaving through the season?

ZUIKER: Hopefully, they'll have me back on September 22nd when we win the Emmy.

WHITFIELD: Perfect. We like that. All right, that's a date. Thanks very much, Anthony.

ZUIKER: Bye-bye.

WHITFIELD: All right, good to see you.


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