'CSI': Laurence Fishburne 'really grateful' for his time

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zap-photo-laurence-fishburne-red-carpet-420.jpg Laurence Fishburne hasn't watched "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" since he left, but his feelings toward the series are good ones.

"I enjoyed it a lot," the Emmy and Tony winner tells Zap2it of his two years-plus on the drama. "I learned a lot, and I really appreciated the opportunity to connect with a viewing audience of that size regularly. That's something television gives you that I'd never had the opportunity for, so I'm really grateful for that."

Dr. Ray Langston, Fishburne's "CSI" alter ego, left on a dark note after killing the tormentor who had kidnapped Langston's ex-wife. "It was great, it was great," Fishburne says of that exit, which yielded an opening for Ted Danson to join the CBS show this season. "I don't think that was the way it was intended, but it just kind of worked out that way."

A big-screen staple of such movies as "Boyz N the Hood," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "The Matrix" and the recent "Contagion," Fishburne ponders, "Would I be interested in doing [series] television again? Absolutely, if the material was strong enough."

Recently Emmy-nominated again for HBO's telecast of "Thurgood" -- which earned him Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards when he performed the one-man show on Broadway -- Fishburne will be back on TV soon. He plays a real-life minister who overcame a troubled past in "Have a Little Faith," a Mitch Albom story that will mark the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" franchise's move to ABC on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Fishburne actually did two other series pre-"CSI," the soon-to-end ABC daytime serial "One Life to Live" and ... "Pee-wee's Playhouse," which featured him as Cowboy Curtis. With Pee-wee Herman now lobbying to compete on a future season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," Fishburne maintains he wouldn't be at all surprised to see that happen.

"I would think that he'd be a natural. Pee-wee would be a great addition to that show, though I don't know how far he would get. Of course, at some point, they would have to let him do the Pee-wee Dance. And you know what kind of hit that would be!"
Photo/Video credit: Newscom