NY Daily News (15 November 2007)
15 November 2007
"CSI," which debuted in 2000, has been the most-watched scripted show on TV for the past five years, and its audience isn't going anywhere.
"'CSI' has built its success over the years by being more story-driven than star-driven," Vincent Fitzgerald, who heads the communications department at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, told the Daily News. "Because of that, the show should be able to withstand the loss of one character without suffering in the ratings."
Fox had a history of butting heads with CBS brass over contract negotiations and was fired in 2004 before coming to an agreement with the network.
After that, her status on the show was the source of rampant rumors up until she confirmed her departure last month.
"It's one of the hardest decisions I've made in my life," Fox told Entertainment Weekly. "It has nothing to do with my contract, nothing to do with money. ... It could be the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life. Only time will tell."
But Fox does acknowledge one immediate perk: "Now I can date my co-stars," she said Wednesday when she co-hosted "The View."
Because she's one of the few women on the show, Fox's departure will certainly be noticed.
But history has shown that popular shows can survive, and often thrive, when a major cast member bolts.
There's the famed departure of David Caruso from "NYPD Blue," for example. George Clooney left "ER." And Mandy Patinkin left both "Chicago Hope" and "Criminal Minds."
And "Law & Order" has often made major cast changes.
None of those shows missed a beat.
"I'm not certain that anyone who doesn't watch 'CSI,' if they're really familiar with any of the actors or actresses on the show," said Fitzgerald. "I figure [William Petersen, who plays Gil Grissom] is probably the only person that might have an effect because this show really is geared around him. The other characters are more supporting in many ways, and television has shown over the years, repeatedly, that supporting characters can be replaced or eliminated."
Fox's final episode, "Goodbye and Goodnight," airs tonight at 10, but it may not be the last time you see her in Sara Sidle's shoes."Let's just say if there is an opportunity to guest-star, I'd be thrilled," said Fox. "It would be impossible to say definitely one way or another because the writers are still making that stuff up. I would never rule anything out. But I'm not trying to lead anybody on, either."