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'CSI' creator urges partnership with Silicon Valley

November 13, 2008 |  5:28 pm

CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker Anthony E. Zuiker, the creator and executive producer of hit television franchise "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," was introduced as the leader of a religious movement.

Speaking at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, Zuiker said he believed Silicon Valley and Hollywood could combine forces to transform television and bring its storytelling power to all devices, including mobile phones and video game consoles.

"There is a ton of business to be done with Silicon Valley," said Zuiker, a forensics junkie who developed his ideas for "CSI" while driving a tram at the Mirage resort in Las Vegas.

He has experimented with new media, including casting the pinup models from the Suicide Girls website on an episode of "CSI," running an online contest and having actor Gary Sinise make an appearance in the virtual world Second Life.

The experiments haven't all panned out. But Zuiker is committed to finding ways to extend the "CSI" brand beyond television, he said.

Capturing the attention of your audience wherever they are and creating an immersive experience that keeps them coming back may not be a matter of survival at this point. But it will be. Despite every network boasting hit shows, Zuiker said, viewership and media companies' stock prices are depressed.

"CBS has empowered me to take chances," Zuiker said.

So he's spending a lot of time in Silicon Valley. Today he had lunch with serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen.

Zuiker may not be able to fully achieve his all-media-all-the-time goals with "CSI." He says the key will be to create, from scratch, a television program with all devices in mind.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: "CSI" creator Anthony E. Zuiker. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images