MIAMI—Just three weeks before its highly anticipated on-field performance at the Super Bowl XLIV halftime show, the popular CBS crime drama CSI is gearing up for what network executives are promising will be a "thrilling, high-tech whodunit on fourth and inches."
According to CBS sources, the hour-long live performance on the Dolphin Stadium 50-yard line will feature the CSI cast and crew moving briskly through a tightly plotted narrative involving the investigation of several grisly murders in the greater Las Vegas area.
"Every performer dreams of playing the Super Bowl halftime show, so I can't begin to tell you how excited we are," CSI creator/producer Anthony Zuiker said. "When you look at the legends who've played it in the past—from Prince to Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen—it's incredible to think that CSI will soon be able to give screaming football fans a great show packed with all the taut, forensics-based intrigue they crave."
Added Zuiker, "And I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say things might get a little sticky for Sanders down in the lab."
An estimated $20 million has already been spent on the CSI halftime show, with much of the budget reportedly going toward the opening set piece, in which cast members Laurence Fishburne and Liz Vassey enter the stands to examine a young child's decomposing corpse in the fourth row.
While details of the show are a closely guarded secret, inside sources maintained that football fans would be treated to the same exciting twists and turns they have come to expect from the hit CBS drama, including the discovery of a semen stain just feet from the goal line that will leave viewers "on the edge of their seats."
"Obviously, the format presents some technical challenges for us," said CBS Super Bowl producer Lance Barrow. "This particular episode of CSI involves about 19 different locations, so it's going to take some effort, for instance, to transition smoothly between the victim's mother's dining room and the central booking station. But that's what the giant revolving set in the middle of the field is for."
Added Barrow, "The driving scenes might also be a little tricky, but we'll have a team of extras dressed as cops out there who will help clear a path in the crowd to make way for the cars."
Dolphin Stadium officials confirmed that they had hired extra grounds crew for what will likely be a heavy clean-up task. At least two dozen workers will be in charge of managing a 40-foot-long replica of a character's pancreas, which will spill simulated blood and digestive enzymes all over the field when punctured with a 30-foot-long scalpel prop.
CBS sources also revealed that CSI's performance would be interspersed with a number of showstopping live advertisements, including promos for upcoming episodes of other CBS series—among them Numb3rs and The Big Bang Theory—performed onstage by the casts of those shows.
While some have wondered whether the tense, hour-long narrative played out live in the middle of Super Bowl Sunday might take away from the actual football game, the network is assuring pigskin fans that they will not be disappointed.
"We're pulling out all the stops," CBS president and CEO Les Moonves said. "Tons of impenetrable forensic jargon; a graphic, four-minute conversation about a victim's rectal cavity; plus a special guest appearance from a certain former Nash Bridges star."
Added Moonves, "Now, if that doesn't say 'Super Bowl XLIV,' then I don't know what does."