Major news from the dark world of CBS crime procedurals: Melina Kanakaredes is not returning to CSI: NY this fall. The network issued a statement this afternoon saying it had "hoped Melina would return," but that it respected her decision. Kanakaredes issued her own statement, saying she made great pals during her six years with the show and that she will "treasure them forever!" (exclamation point hers, not ours). The timing of the announcement is odd: The show begins shooting season seven any day now, and producers will have to quickly work to introduce a new character (and find a new actor for the role, though Hollywood insiders are already saying that Deadline Hollywood's speculation about Sela Ward joining CSI:NY is correct). While people close to the situation insist that Kanakaredes simply wanted to move on, don't be surprised if reports start surfacing about money somehow being involved. CSI: NY is the least watched of the three CSIs, and it's moving to Friday nights this fall (where its numbers may get even smaller). That probably means CBS is being pretty tight about controlling costs on the show. In any case, with Kanakaredes now a free agent, perhaps NBC can finally move forward with plans for that Providence reboot Ben Silverman was working on before he was fired.
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