CBS high on ‘CSI’ guy for overall deal

Pact could create third installment of popular drama

The evidence is in: “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker has hit the jackpot, inking a three-year overall deal with CBS Prods. and Alliance Atlantis that will deliver a handsome multimillion dollar payout.

Pact, which is retroactive to February, calls for Zuiker to continue as exec producer on both the Las Vegas-set “CSI” and spinoff “CSI: Miami.” Original, Emmy-nominated skein just ended the season as TV’s most-watched show, while latter was the most-watched new drama.

Deal is said to be worth in the range of between high seven figures and low eight figures.

In addition to covering Zuiker’s services on the two current “CSI” skeins, deal also includes a development component for the scribe to create new series for CBS and Alliance Atlantis. There’s been intense speculation that one of those projects could be a third “CSI” skein.

Given Zuiker’s self-professed obsession with Fox’s “American Idol,” it might also make sense for Zuiker to one day try his hand at a reality show, though no such plans are in the works.

Zuiker’s deal caps the latest chapter of an incredible success story for the Las Vegas-bred scribe, who six years ago was working as a tram operator at the Mirage in Las Vegas. A movie deal for the pic “The Runner” got Zuiker into the business; the creation of “CSI” followed.

Three years later after “CSI” bowed, Zuiker, as a result of his just-inked pact, now ranks as one of the highest-paid drama exec producers working in television.

In addition to his TV career, Zuiker continues hammering out feature screenplays. He’s currently re-adapting his script for “The Harlem Globetrotters Story,” which is being produced by Tony Lord and Matt Weaver, with Penny Marshall attached to direct for Columbia Pictures and Davis Entertainment.

Also in the works is “Wannabe,” a modern day mob story from Outlaw Prods. and Intermedia.

Jerry Bruckheimer, Carol Mendolsohn and Ann Donahue also serve as exec producers of both “CSI” skeins. Mendolsohn and Donahue share creator credit with Zuiker for “CSI: Miami.”

Zuiker’s deal was brokered by CAA, Margaret Riley and Kevin Yorn.