The Monte-Carlo Television Festival today announced this year’s finalists for the International TV Audience Awards in three categories, Drama TV Series, Comedy TV Series, and Telenovelas/Soap Operas. The drama category, featuring the three most watched drama series in the world, provided a rare sweep as the nominees were U.S.’ CSI, CSI: NY and CSI: Miami.
The latest reminder how immensely popular the CSI franchise is around the world comes as the two spinoffs, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY face danger of cancellation at CBS. (The mothership CSI series has been renewed for next season.) Both spinoff series were uprooted from their long-time Monday 10 PM (CSI: Miami) and Wednesday 10 PM (CSI: NY) slots last season to make room for new shows. In addition to strong international sales, both CSI: Miami and CSI: NY have lucrative off-network syndication deals in place, with TNT and Spike TV (CSI:NY) and AMC and A&E (CSI:Miami). Both series’ current seasons were abbreviated and speculation is that one of them probably won’t make it to next fall. CSI:NY is younger and thus cheaper but CSI: Miami is higher-rated. And the recent off-network deal with AMC has the network committed to two more seasons of the David Caruso-starring procedural if produced. The scenario making the rounds today had CSI:NY staying and CSI:Miami going away, with cost as a main argument. If that happens, Caruso is prepared. After almost a decade without an agent, the CSI: Miami star recently signed with WME.
Even if one of the CSI series goes away, the franchise’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer still may have four series on CBS next season (His company also produces the network’s reality veteran The Amazing Race), as Jerry Bruckheimer TV also has drama pilot Trooper in contention for next season. Observers speculate that the pilot’s pickup chances may increase if one of the CSI spinoffs gets canceled as CBS has made it clear that it wants to be in the Jerry Bruckheimer business. CBS has to make the decision before its May 16 upfront presentation. So by the time the winners of the International TV Audience Awards are announced on June 14, one of the three drama series nominees may be already dead. CSI: NY is the only series that has not won the award. The mothership was honored last year as well as in 2007 and 2008; CSI: Miami won in 2006.