CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star William Petersen says he expects to leave the hit show at the end of next season, though his agents say different.
In an interview in the March issue of Playboy, Petersen said he’ll stick around the show only as long as he’s legally obligated, which he estimates is the end of next year. "Right now, that’s as long as I can foresee doing this show," he told the magazine. CBS officials say Petersen's contract runs through 2007, and Petersen's representatives say he has no plans to leave.
Petersen also was openly critical of CBS’ spin-off strategy: "Hey, they can do the show five nights a week with five different casts, but as long as they don’t have my guys they’re not going to do it as well," he said.
"CSI: Miami doesn’t have our chemistry. Taking a blueprint of something that was organically conceived and trying to synthesize it is the difference between organic chicken and chicken jerky. There’s nothing I can do about that. That’s Viacom, big American capitalism and ratings points."
CBS launched CSI: Miami last season to big ratings and next fall plans CSI: New York.
The three men Petersen says he would most like to see guest as corpses on CSI are CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves, Alliance Atlantis Entertainment Group CEO Peter Sussman and executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, "all of whom are getting filthy rich off this show," Petersen said.
"They should spend a day on the slab while we poke and prod them. You’ll have to ask their wives if they’d be convincing as stiffs."
Actually, Moonves already has done his time as a corpse for a CSI-themed stunt in a video for CBS’s upfront presentation last May. In the short film, Petersen and CSI co-star Marg Helgenberger, examining the body, point out that Moonves has a "tiny little heart" and "big brass balls."