Saving Sara Sidle: The Fruitless Effort to Keep CSI Star Jorja Fox from Ruining Her Career
Is it possible to love a TV show too much?
Words of sacrilege from a TV critic, I know. But you can't help wondering that after a few minutes spent in the world of Devon Pierce, the Dunedin woman who has helped lead a global effort to save Jorja Fox from herself and keep her from leaving CSI.
Fox, who has always seemed to be hanging by a thread since she and co-star George Eads were fired and rehired amid tough contract negotiations in 2004, confirmed late yesterday -- after our deadline in features, of course -- that she's leaving CSI in November. That news came in time to add an awkward spin to my story in today's Floridian about Pierce, a wife and mother who estimates she has spent about $30,000 over the past five years feeding her passion for Fox's series and building a fan Web site.
When Fox let it slip last month that she was probably leaving the show, Pierce and her friends mounted an aggressive and surprisingly under-the-radar fan lobbying effort, which included paying for planes to fly signs over the studios where CSI is filmed and fans sending in more than $20,000 in $1 bills with flyers proclaiming they were "saving Sara one dollar at a time." They were probably inspired by these cases.
It's always tough when fans try to get involved in these machinations. CBS drew a line a long time ago with Fox and Eads, who probably tried to muscle CBS the way the supporting actors on Everybody Loves Raymond did for shares of DVD sales, syndication and salary raises. Unfortunately for Fox and Eads, their contribution to the success of a procedural crime drama like CSI is a lot less -- sorry Devon! -- than the contributions of Emmy winners Doris Roberts and Brad Garrett.
Now Fox says she's leaving the Number One show on TV because she wants to do something else. How someone can get tired of getting paid $100,000 a week to say five or six lines an episode is beyond me.
And fans like Pierce are left to trade message with like-minded friends about what it all means. Which may really be the point of the whole thing in the first place. See one fan's farewell here.
In a world where people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for baseballs knocked out of a park by a steroid case, I can think of worse things to spend your time doing.