After 12 years at CBS TV Studios, Anthony E. Zuiker, creator and executive producer of the CSI franchise, is moving into a new TV home. Zuiker has signed a three-year first-look deal with ABC Studios for his company, Dare to Pass. Under the pact, which starts immediately, Zuiker will be partnering on developing new scripted series with ABC Studios-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners, which recently reupped its deal with the studio for 2 more years. Zuiker has strong ties to the company as his longtime manager, Margaret Riley, works there. He also developed a project with Brillstein last season. Riley and recently appointed Brillstein Television’s President Joann Alfano will serve as Executive Producers alongside Zuiker on the projects he and Brillstein TV do jointly. With CBS having so few needs because of its solid schedule, “I just felt that to do something different, I had to go on different journey and possibly take the option of leaving,” Zuiker said. He met with several studios but quickly settled on ABC Studios where he will work with the studio’s new creative head Patrick Moran. “Patrick and his team were very passionate about character and about character-based procedural,” said Zuiker, adding that he is already working on ideas in the character-based procedural and crime arenas.
Zuiker is still keeping in touch with his CSI cohorts (he had some conversations with the producers of the mothership series over the search of replacement of Laurence Fishburne and calls the casting of Ted Danson in the new character “a fantastic choice”), but plans to focus on his development for ABC Studios. As for teaming with Brillstein, “This is such a huge change, you want to put forward the best foot possible and get the best support possible,” Zuiker said.
The highly profitable CSI franchise is currently available in 200 territories with an audience of nearly 2 billion people. The mothership series was recently named the most watched series in the world for the fourth time in five years at the 51st Annual Monte Carlo Television Festival. In addition to the three CSIs, Zuiker is an Executive Producer on Enigma, a CBS Studios project set up at TNT. Written by Ed Whitmore, it is a crime show in the vein of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, where the basement-dwelling FBI agents of the Alternative Crimes Division tackle the world’s most confounding crimes that most experts deem unsolvable. He is also an Executive Producer on CBS Studios’ The Seekers, which is set up at Nickelodeon. Ryan Raddatz is writing a comedic procedural in which four mystery-obsessed freshmen go undercover to deliver justice on behalf of their fellow students at Hidden Hills High. Matt Weinberg, President of Dare to Pass will also be a producer with Zuiker on both projects. Along with CAA-repped Zuiker and Weinberg, Dare to Pass is comprised of VP Orlin Dobreff; Director of Development Television and Film David Boorstein; and Director of Digital Media Joshua Caldwell. Zuiker’s fourth book, MR. CSI: How a Vegas Dreamer Made a Killing in Hollywood, One Body at a Time will be released by Harper on November 22nd, 2011. It is a memoir of his journey from a Las Vegas tram driver to a Hollywood success. Zuiker also pioneered the digi-novel genre with Level 26 and Dark Prophesy. He also orchestrated the first digi novel-TV crossover with killer Sqweegel who may return to CSI next season.