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On TV, Meet the New Boss -- Different Than the Old Boss
September 23, 2011  | By David Bianculli
 

In addition to all the other new series and fresh changes in the 2011 fall TV lineup, there were two very noteworthy -- and very impressive -- changes of the guard on network TV.

office-11-S22.jpgTed Danson stepped in as the new head of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS, and James Spader became the new CEO running things at NBC's The Office.

Both bring to those long-established series a new tone, and a welcome change of approach...

And both are change-of-venue moves for these fine actors. Spader is moving from drama to comedy, Danson from comedy to drama -- although ABC's Boston Legal, like Spader's character on that series, was just as likely to be outrageously comic as intensely serious.

csi-danson-11-S21.jpg

And Danson, on DirectTV's Damages, already proved how subtle and strong a dramatic actor he can be. But that's something the Cheers star proved decades ago, the last time he worked with Glenn Close, in the 1984 telemovie Something About Amelia.

On their opening turns in these new roles, both Danson and Spader were wonderful -- and gave the veteran casts around them the opportunity to play new reactions and new notes. Well done, both men. And well done, both shows.

For a full review of these new cast changes on The Office and CSI, as well as of Simon Cowell's return on Fox's The X Factor, read or listen to my Friday's edition of NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which I'm hosting. After about 3 p.m. ET Friday, you can read and hear it HERE.



 
 
 
 
 
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