'CSI': Laurence Fishburne dresses down

Laurencefishburne_csi_290 "CSI" fans will see a more relaxed Ray Langston on screen this season -- and not just because Laurence Fishburne has most of a season under his belt.

Langston will also be getting a "wardrobe makeover" for the show's 11th season, CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour.

The line got a laugh from the assembled reporters, but Tassler says that network research showed that "CSI" viewers actually wanted Fishburne's character, a professor-turned-crime lab analyst, to loosen up a little.

"Our research and our fans said they really love Fishburne and respect him," Tassler says. "They just wanted to see him sort of more comfortable in his clothes."

The sartorial changes will also be indicative of other things going on with Langston and with "CSI" as a whole. Langston will take on "more of a leadership capacity" within the Las Vegas crime lab, as will Nick (George Eads), who gets a promotion from Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) early on in the season. The show will also welcome Jorja Fox back as Sara Sidle for the first five episodes of the season.

Tassler says fans saw Fishburne's character as a little bit "stiff" in his first few episodes, a perception that was in part fueled by Langston's penchant to show up to work in a suit and tie. This season, though, "He's more comfortable in the lab," Tassler says, both in terms of his colleagues and the types of work he's doing.

"His whole perspective is from a medical point of view," she adds, noting that he'll tackle aspects of cases that fit in with his background. "You're going to see a lot of those that are an extension of who Langston is."

Follow Zap2it on Twitter for the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.

Related:

Lauren Lee Smith leaves 'CSI'
'CSI's' Jorja Fox returns
More coverage from the summer TV press tour