April 15, 2008 / 5:37 AM / 10 years ago

"CSI" creator plans to drive eyes back to TV

LAS VEGAS (Hollywood Reporter) - Anthony Zuiker is on a mission to drive viewers back to television.

Anthony E. Zuiker, executive producer of the CSI television show, speaks at the 2007 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 9, 2007. Zuiker is on a mission to drive viewers back to television. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The creator of the “CSI” franchise suggested a model, what he calls Cross Blending Storytelling, during a panel session Monday at the annual convention of the National Assn. of Broadcasters.

Zuiker said that viewing behavior has shifted. “I lost 8 million viewers on our premiere last season. Where are they? They’re on the Web,” he said. “People are consuming more and more content on the Web. ... The broadcast model in terms of advertising is a little bit broken.”

Cross Blending Storytelling, he said, involves “launching a narrative from television to the Web to mobile to gaming and back to television.

“But we are going to drive them back to television, not away from television,” he said, warning, “if you don’t take care of television ... the laptop will dominate.

“The good news is now you can monetize all four platforms,” he said. “We are going to monetize TV on all four platform to make up for the dollars we are losing on TV.

“People like myself and my staff will be building story lines into the script — launching new characters, launching new story lines, launching things you can enjoy beyond TV in one hour,” he added. “You have to make content specific to the device.”

Zuiker said he and his team already are creating infrastructure and exploring outsourcing for areas such as mobile and games.

He believes this can serve to merge Hollywood with Silicon Valley. “The days of just watching a show from 9-10 (p.m.) are over,” he said. “It’s all going to change. ... There is no such thing as a one-off anymore.”

Zuiker’s shows are in pretty good shape. So far this season, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” ranks No. 9 in households in its eighth year, with “CSI: Miami” tied at No. 12 in its sixth, and “CSI: NY” at No. 28 in its fourth.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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