Ted Danson has been on television forever. He’s known to Midwestern grandparents everywhere as the lovable womanizer Sam Malone from Cheers, and Midwestern parents know him as the eccentric DB Russell from CSI. With ratings for CBS’ CSI: Cyber faltering, what’s next for the TV icon?
TV Guide ranked Ted Danson second on their list of top 25 television stars, and looking at his career it’s easy to see why.
Several years after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama, he secured a role on the daytime soap opera Somerset. After two years there, from 1975-1976, he moved to The Doctors, another daytime soap. Around this time, he was also in a variety of print and television ads, most notably for Aramis, a cologne from Estée Lauder.
- Like Aramis, Ted Danson’s impact (on the world of television) will never fade
After a variety of guest spots on other shows, Ted Danson left The Doctors to join the cast of CBS’ new primetime sitcom Cheers in 1982. There, he played Sam Malone, a former baseball player and recovering alcoholic with a sex addiction. All of this was funny, though, because it was the 80s. The show did horribly its first season, despite good reviews from critics. After several seasons, though, the show went on to become one of the most watched shows in television. Its finale, aired in 1993, was watched by 80 million people, making it the second most-watched finale at that time. By the time the show had ended, Ted Danson had received 11 Emmy nominations and 9 Golden Globe nominations, winning two of each.
The same year as Cheers’ finale, he drew substantial criticism for his Friars Club roast of Whoopi Goldberg, who he was dating at the time. Wearing blackface, Danson swore profusely and ate a watermelon. Afterward, Goldberg supported Danson, saying she had helped write a lot of the material with him. His relationship with Goldberg also led to high highly publicized divorce, reportedly one of the costliest in Hollywood history.
- Instead of Ted Danson in blackface, here’s a promo shot for Three Men and a Baby, a movie he starred in
After Cheers ended, Danson would reprise his role on occasion for the moderately successful Fraiser, a spin-off of Cheers. In 1996, he starred in Ink, which ended after one season, and in 1998, he starred in Becker, as the titular character John Becker. Both shows were on CBS.
Becker had a successful run, ending in 2004. The next year he was the star of A&E’s Knights of South Bronx, a hidden gem of after-school specials.Over the next few years, Danson bounced from show to show, including multiple cameos as himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Ted Danson Now in 2018 – Recent Work Updates
In 2011, after appearing in the music video for The Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise,” Danson moved back to CBS, joining the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in season 12. His character, DB Russell, replaced the previous night shift supervisor, where he provides odd insight into cases, acting as the All Solving Hammer for many of the show’s cases. His character also grew psychedelic mushrooms in his office, and helped reinforce the “CSI effect.”
- Forensic analysis is not magic, but on television it is!
When the original CSI ended in 2013, Ted Danson transferred to CSI: Cyber, which was the same show, but with more hacking, and set in D.C. Unfortunately, fans weren’t drawn in, and CSI: Cyber has seen fairly low ratings.
On January 12, 2016, Ted Danson announced he wouldn’t be returning to the show, if CSI: Cyber does get a third season. Instead, he’ll be moving to NBC to star in Good Place, created by Parks and Recreation producer Michael Schur. Danson will be performing along Kristen Bell in the show, acting as her guide and mentor through Bell’s characters self-designed self-improvement course. The comedy will premiere this fall, and has already secured a full season.