Zuiker talks ‘CSI’ at Banff

Canucks seek drama coin

BANFF, Alberta — “CSI: New York” is going to have a new look and lighter feel to it next year, creator and executive producer Anthony Zuiker told delegates at the Banff World Television Festival on Monday.

“There will be no more basement labs for the show,” he said. “The labs and sets will take place in a vertical city, 35 or 40 stories up.”

He described the pilot for the “CSI” spinoff he wrote, “Blink,” as a gritty and aggressive exploration of post-9/11 themes. But it was too dark for viewers.

“The show came off as grim and dour and depressing,” he said. “It was too much about the underbelly of New York.”

Zuiker is a special guest at this year’s festival.

In other fest news, Canadian media unions called on the media regulator to force English-language commercial broadcasters to double spending on homegrown drama to 7% of gross ad revenue by 2008.

The Coalition of Canadian Audio-Visual Unions noted in a report released Monday during the fest that drama expenditure had dropped from a high of C$73 million ($58 million) in 1998 to just $42.7 million last year, and that 2005 spending levels are expected to be little different even though ad rev is rising.

The plea follows Sunday’s announcement from minister of heritage Liza Frulla that the government’s $80 million contribution to the Canadian Television Fund, a cornerstone for producers in the Great White North, is to be renewed for 2006-2007, and the red tape for applications will be pared down.

Also at the festival Monday, Alliance Atlantis Communications picked up the outstanding achievement award, Panasonic took the technical achievement laurel, and Michael Geddes took the Lions Gate/Maple Pictures innovative producer kudo.

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