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Danson on "CSI": "Sam Malone sees dead people"

Ted Danson on "The Early Show."
CBS

Two-time Emmy winner Ted Danson will always have a special place in the hearts of viewers across America as the star of "Cheers" and "Becker." But now, he's making the jump from sitcoms to crime drama in his new role as D.B. Russell on the long-running CBS series, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Pictures: Ted Danson

What does the star like acting in best -- comedy or drama?

On "The Early Show," Danson said it doesn't make a difference to him because he does the same thing he always does.

He said, "It's like this is 'Sam Malone sees dead people.' It's the same thing. All the same. ... I like, if you're going to see something serious, I like that there is a funny point of view that, you know, is in there, as well. And my favorite kind of comedy has a sadness -- you know -- in it, as well."

Danson said his introduction to the show has been a whirlwind event.

He recalled, "I was sitting on my porch in Martha's Vineyard, minding my own business, and a week later I was in a real autopsy room in Las Vegas going, 'Where am I? What just happened?' It came out of the blue for me. It's so different from anything I've ever done. I am absolutely delighted. I'm having the time of my life learning all of this new stuff, and it's a great group. They have been doing this for 11 years, so everyone is relaxed and calm and mellow and happy to be there."

Danson, "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge noted, is just one of the characters changing on the show. Is he apprehensive about how the audience will respond?

Danson said, laughing, "Yeah, there is a little anxiety. But I'm also having so much fun doing the work. The anxiety will come after the ratings come in or something. I'm sure I'll be, like everybody else, very anxious."

Danson, who is about to be a grandfather, said he's excited to start the show that will bring him to Los Angeles, where he can be with his family.

"I'll be Los Angeles for a stretch of nine months so I can be a grandfather, and not calling from Anchorage, Alaska, saying, 'How are the kids?'"

Looking back on his 40-year career, Danson says he still is thankful for "Cheers."

"I'm such a Pollyanna. I love doing what I'm doing now. I am so thrilled to be on 'CSI,"' he said. "(But) I would never turn my back on 'Cheers.' 'Cheers' is the reason I get to do the environment work I do."

Danson works with an organization called Oceana, a marine issues group. Danson also co-authored a book in the past year entitled "Oceana," on ocean environmental issues.

Along with his TV work on "CSI," the actor says he will continue his character George Christopher, a magazine editor, on the HBO detective show "Bored to Death."

So will Danson have time for a personal life - including spending time with his grandchild?

"Don't cry for me," Danson said. "I am having so much fun. My wife accuses me of going to the spa every day. Seriously. It is a great people to work with at 'CSI,' the crew and the cast and the writers. I'm a very lucky man."

Wragge kidded, "There was no sympathy, as soon as you mentioned Martha's Vineyard."

Danson replied, "I'm very lucky."