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CBS at Press Tour: Ted Danson, Child Forensic Scientist!

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The big news out of CBS’s press tour had to do with the information (or lack thereof) about Ashton Kutcher’s introduction on Two and a Half Men. But there were tidbits from the various other panels, including the revelation that Ted Danson was groomed to play a CSI from his earliest years:

* “I grew up around skulls,” said Danson at the panel for CSI–which he takes the lead on come fall–noting that his father was an archaeologist in Arizona. And he related the story of an early run-in with forensics:

“Once when I was 11 years old ‑‑ this is my bad CSI story ‑‑ I was out playing with my buddies in the woods. We were playing army, and we came across a skull that had a patch of hair and a little round hole here and a bigger hole here. And the archaeologist’s son [Danson] went, ‘Oh, cool. Let’s play Romans and Gauls.’ Stuck it on the end of a pole, and off we went for the rest of the day. Came home. Told my father. He went through the roof. Went through the roof. Went looking for it with the police the next day. Couldn’t find it. Five years later, one of my buddies was up hiking in the same area, found that same skull again, brought it back to the museum where my father was working, put model clay on it and then drew a sketch of what the face would have looked like after molding clay on it, put it in the newspaper, and they identified him. That’s my little CSI story from a kid. Isn’t that cool?”

* Next up was Unforgettable, in which Poppy Montgomery plays a detective who can remember every detail of every day of her life (except for the day her sister was murdered). This is an actual, though rare medical condition–one shared by actress Marilu Henner (minus the murdered sister), who has served as a consultant on the show. (Producers noted that Henner used her memory to correct an mistaken fact about a date in one of their scripts.) They didn’t cast Henner on the show, though, but they now say they’re planning to create a role for her. Suggestion: make her Montgomery’s arch-nemesis… a murderer who remembers everything!

* On to the 2 Broke Girls panel, in which star Kat Dennings reminded us that this was not the first time she’s worked with creator Michael Patrick King. On the “Hot Child in the city” episode of his Sex and the City, she played “the blowjob bat mitzvah girl.” And now here she is! Mentoring the young people is so important.

* And for the video-surveillance drama Person of Interest, the cast and producer Jonathan Nolan appeared–appropriately enough by satellite video. Nolan used the situation to set up a running joke that producer J.J. Abrams had bugged his microphone to cut out if he revealed any spoilers. Nolan also claimed that the government has actually tried to create the mythical computer used on the show–a machine that analyzes surveillance cameras throughout public places to identify and analyze threats. Maybe it’s science fiction. But just in case, co star Taraji P. Henson suggests that you keep a Post-It over the camera on your laptop.