CSI mavens Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue are staying at the helm of CBS’ veteran crime drama franchise. Each has inked a new four-year eight-figure overall deal with CSI producer CBS TV Studios. Medelsohn will continue to executive produce and showrun the mothership CSI series, which anchors the CBS Thursday schedule at 9PM. She also is executive producing the new CBS/CBS Studios drama The Defenders. Donahue will continue to executive produce and run CSI: Miami, which moves to Sundays 10PM this fall. The new pacts succeed Mendelsohn and Donahue’s previous four-year eight-figure deals with CBS Studios, which expired in mid-June. Both have been under overall pacts at the studio since 2001. “Every studio dreams of having producers with this kind of passion and leadership on the set and in the writer’s room,” CBS TV Studios president David Stapf said. “It was very important to us that Carol and Ann remain not only part of CSI, but the CBS family too.”
WME-repped Donahue and Mendelsohn have been with the CSI franchise since the very beginning, teaming with creator Anthony Zuiker to launch the first series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in 2000. At the time, Zuiker was a TV neophyte with a handful of film scripts under his belt. Two years later, Donahue shifted her focus to the launch of the first spinoff, CSI: Miami, co-created by Zuiker, Donahue and Mendelsohn. Two years after that, the three created CSI: NY, which is now run by Pam Veasey. And while all 3 CSI series show signs of aging and have slid in the ratings lately, they continue to be important building blocks of CBS’ schedule and big money makers for the studio through off-network and international sales. The main CSI series was recently named the most watched drama in the world for 2009 with 73.8 million viewers. “Carol and Ann are two of the best showrunners of this decade,” said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. “The ongoing success of CSI and CSI Miami is testimony to their incredible creative talents and leadership skills.”
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