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Ted Danson: activist, investigator

July 13, 2011 |  5:10 pm

Ted Danson, the actor who won two Emmys for his role as Sam Malone on "Cheers," will join the cast of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" in the fall. He'll be the big boss, stepping in after the departure of Lawrence Fishburne.

Our television blog Showtracker explains that Danson "will play the new CSI supervisor, who previously ran the crime lab in Portland."

Even with the new "CSI" responsibilities, Danson will continue to portray the louche editor on HBO's "Bored to Death," which he does with relish.  "'Bored to Death' is pretty much my favorite thing in life," he told me earlier this year. "I love the writing, love my character.... It's really some of my favorite stuff I’ve ever been involved with."

Danson is used to wearing multiple hats. He's been a longtime ocean activist and published an environmental book this year, "Oceana."

"I've always been kind of a shill," Ted Danson explained. "The guy out in front of the tent saying, 'Thank you so much for watching "Cheers," come on in and let me introduce you to the marine biologists who have something really important to tell you.'"

He's overly modest -- the book is educational, informative and cool to look at, with bright and clear diagrams about fish populations, oil drilling and more. "The thing that I think gets people’s attention, hopefully, is that this is a problem that’s fixable. It’s a huge environmental disaster in the making that doesn’t have to happen," Danson told me. "We can change this. And you can be part of that, and that’s part of what the book talks about, is you can be part of this, even in your crazy busy day when you barely have any time. You can go on the computer and join Oceana, or not even join, just become a Wavemaker and allow them to turn you into an e-activist that will change policy around the world."

Even while you're watching "CSI," I bet.


Ted Danson dives into "Oceana"

Ted Danson at the L.A. Times Festival of Books

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Ted Danson in April 2011. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman/For The Times