By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 16, 2004 01:51 PM

Criminals in New York, beware: This fall, CBS is planning another spinoff of its highest-rated show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” — this time set in the Big Apple and called (what else?) “CSI: New York,” Reuters reports.

TV observers, eyeing NBC’s success with its three “Law & Order” shows (as well as a possible fourth edition coming soon), were hardly surprised by the news, given that the first spinoff, “CSI: Miami,” starring David Caruso, debuted to stellar ratings in 2002.

The original “CSI” series, which premiered in the fall of 2000, is set in Las Vegas and stars William L. Petersen and Marg Helgenberger — who did some minor carping to the press when the “Miami” debuted, fearing it might take some luster away from the original.

Both “CSI” and “CSI: Miami” follow the work of police crime-scene investigators who use high-tech forensics to solve difficult cases. The third edition is expected to follow the same successful formula.

In terms of ratings, “CSI” and “CSI: Miami” currently rank as No. 1 and No. 5, respectively, among all prime-time shows on American TV, notes Reuters.

The original series averages 26 million viewers per week.