Josh Berman, Executive Producer on C.S.I.
C.S.I. Becomes a Hit
At the time, no one expected much from the series, and just hoped it could hold its time slot for the year. It ran on Friday nights at 9:00, but to everyone's surprise, by mid-season the series had attracted increasingly higher ratings, thanks in large part to its setting, pace and originality. That it was grisly as well, introducing viewers to maggots, bullet trajectory paths, and graphic autopsy scenes, didn't hurt. In addition, it featured a dynamic team, and one "character" was certainly the crime lab.
Executives at CBS made the decision to try it during its second season against a popular Thursday night show, Will and Grace. Not only did it win, it also spun off C.S.I. Miami and C.S.I. New York, each of which quickly attracted its own impressive following. Berman found himself in the enviable position of being part of the team that had created the nation's number one show, and he soon became a co-executive producer, and then was promoted to executive producer.
In an interview for Television Week, he indicated that he had been fortunate because the show's budget had been too tight to hire middle men, so it did not take long for him to advance. When he'd first come on board, there were two executive producers, along with the show's creator and the executive story editor. He was encouraged to be creative and to initiate things, so he took advantage. While certain responsibilities accompanied that freedom, he proved himself up to the challenge. Since he'd already been a studio executive, Berman was able to bridge the gap that often exists between executives and writers. He understood the intent of directives from above, knew what was expected of him, and was able to deliver.