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TCA/CBS Borrows Pages from Showtime and USA Network

TCA/11:30 a.m.

Derivative?  Or a reinvention? It’s difficult to say without watching a few episodes.  But at first glance, at least two new CBS series appear to have borrowed some concepts from cable successes, namely Showtime’s Dexter and USA Network’s Psych and Monk.

During the TCA panel, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler leaked some details about the CSI character (as yet unnamed) who will replace Gil Grissom.  William Petersen, who plays the venerable Grissom, departs CSI in the tenth episode of the upcoming season. 

The new character is an "outsider coming into CSI unit," said Tassler. 

The newcomer will not immediately take the helm, however.  Tassler revealed he will "work his way up and ultimately become head of the team."

Tassler also disclosed that the character harbors a secret that only he knows.  He possesses "an interesting genetic profile, the same as serial killers," said Tassler. "He’s on a journey to discover what his true character will become."

One reporter joked that he could see the headlines: "Would-be Serial Killer Joins CSI."

Dexter anyone? 

Nevertheless, in response to a query, Tassler did say the character has never shown any of the classic psycopathic clinical signs of serial killer-ism, so to speak - like killing animals or other signature behaviors.

Some Internet weirdness -  when entering the search phrase "William Petersen" in Google News, the following from the "Malaysia Star" floats to the top.  The article currently won’t load, but this is the lede: "Veteran actors Laurence Fishburne and John Malkovich are being considered as replacements for William Petersen’s character in CSI."

In other news, CBS will introduce The Mentalist starring Simon Baker as Patrick Jane and executive produced by Bruno Heller (HBO’s Rome). 

Per the press materials, Jane is "an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation," a loose cannon with a "remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation."  

He comes to the bureau with an infamous past as a "psychic medium whose paranormal abilities he now admits are feigned." 

His "no-nonsense" sidekick is Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney).  She often "blasts" Jane for his theatrics and narcissism.

hmmm.  Heavy tones of USA’s Psych w/ shades of Monk

ETA:  from the panel - Executive Producer/Writer Bruno Heller (Rome) said the show is "much more like Sherlock Holmes."     A mentalist, explained Bruno, is someone who "reframes reality so you believe something that isn’t true….and [their skills]  say something profound about the way the mind works."

Simon Baker mentioned watching practitioners on Youtube and passingly spoke of NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming.  (NLP is a form of hypnosis that grew out of Milton Erickson’s work but was later expanded upon by John Grinder and Richard Bandler.)

The Mentalist trailer: