CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as CSI or less commonly, CSI: Las Vegas) is an American crime drama television series, which premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is filmed primarily at Universal Studios in Universal City, California.
The series follows Las Vegas criminalists (identified as “Crime Scene Investigators” working for the Las Vegas Police Department instead of the actual title of “Crime Scene Analysts” and “Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department”) as they use physical evidence to solve grisly murders in this unusually graphic drama, which has inspired a host of other cop-show “procedurals”. The series mixes deduction, gritty subject matter and character-driven drama. The network later added spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.
CSI has been recognized as the most popular dramatic series internationally by the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, which has awarded it the “International Television Audience Award (Best Television Drama Series)” three times. CSI’s worldwide audience was estimated to be over 73.8 million viewers in 2009. In 2011, CSI is the most watched drama series in the world, again.
CSI has been nominated multiple times for industry awards and has won nine awards during its history. The program has spawned several media projects including an exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, a series of books, several video games, and two additional TV shows. It has reached milestone episodes, such as the 100th, “Ch-Ch-Changes”, the 150th, “Living Legend”, which starred Roger Daltrey from The Who, the 200th, “Mascara”, airing on April 2, 2009, and the 250th, “Cello and Goodbye”, airing May 5, 2011.
Internationally, broadcasts of the show are popular. Show creator Anthony Zuiker said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, “The running joke really is that “CSI” airs in every country but six: North Korea, Uzbekistan, Iran, Iraq, and a couple of others I probably can’t even name.”
For the 2001 season, CBS decided to move CSI, along with the reality series Survivor, to Thursday night, ending NBC’s long dominance of these television hours. CBS became the most watched network on American television, with CSI being the most watched program on television for the 2002–2003 TV season, and the most watched scripted show for five consecutive seasons, from the 2002–2003 season through the 2006–2007 season.
The show aired its 250th episode on May 5, 2011. On May 18, 2011, CBS was renewed the series for a twelfth season, moving it to Wednesdays. Ted Danson joined the series, playing the new night-shift team supervisor.