How will Sam Malone fit in with the gritty drama of CSI? Viewers are about to find out: Ted Danson, who formerly played Sam Malone on the comedy Cheers, has been hired to take over on CBS’s crime drama. Danson will play the supervisor for the graveyard shift, replacing Laurence Fishburne, who was hired more than two years ago. Despite Fishburne’s status as a film star, he was not able to reboot the franchise, and CBS opted not to renew his contract. CBS did an exhaustive search for a male lead to replace Fishburne, looking at Tony Shalhoub, Robin Williams, and John Lithgow before deciding on Danson. “Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character, and emotion, he brings it all,” said executive producer Don McGill.