'CSI' guy's set in two-year, first-look deal
“CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker has parked his production shingle at CBS Television Studios.Under the exclusive two-year, first-look deal, Zuiker’s Dare to Pass label will develop scripted and nonscripted fare. “That’s the home that built my career,” Zuiker said of CBS. “They gave a kid working on a Las Vegas tram for $8 an hour a chance back in 2000. … Now, with the ‘CSI’ franchise healthy and doing well, I’m thinking about the next big thing.” Zuiker said he plans to focus on developing a handful of projects that can exist on several different media platforms at once. “Making a one-off TV show is not going to sustain a real business anymore,” he said. “It starts with a great TV show, but then becomes a 24/7 experience. It’s Web, mobile, gaming. From device to device to device.” Zuiker is running Dare to Pass with Matthew Weinberg, a former partner at management/production company Guy Walks Into a Bar. Weinberg will serve as president of production. At Guy Walks Into a Bar, Weinberg exec produced the CBS pilot “Giants of Radio,” as well as ABC’s “This Might Hurt.” Also onboard is Orlin Dobreff, who serves as VP of Dare to Pass. Dobreff has spent the past eight years working with Zuiker on “CSI.” The company name refers to the number of networks and studios that passed on “CSI” before the show wound up at CBS. “We’re going to select projects that are too tough to turn down, that are really character-centric, are cross-platform and come with a built-in business model,” he said. Separate from the CBS pact, Zuiker has created a series of what he calls “digi-novels,” published by Dutton. The books are supplemented by short films that were written, produced and directed by Zuiker and will be posted on the Internet. Zuiker’s first “digi-novel,” “Level 26: Dark Origins,” will be released Sept. 8. The scribe is also writing his memoirs, “Mr. CSI,” for HarperCollins.