Fans of CSI: NY were sorely disappointed to hear yesterday that Melina Kanakaredes, who has for six seasons played Detective Stella Bonasera, would not be returning to the show next fall. Although Kanakaredes did not fully explain her decision (it might have something to do with the show being moved to Friday), she stated "I made some amazing and lifelong friendships during my six seasons on CSI: NY, and I will treasure them forever."
CBS has released a statement confirming the news to fans: "We hoped Melina would return to CSI: NY for another season, but we respect her decision to move on. Her amazing talent and invaluable contribution to the success of the series are greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten. She will forever remain a friend to the network."
But it didn't take long for CBS to find someone to replace Kanakaredes - which is good, since CSI is set to begin filming July 28th. The network has announced that longtime Sisters actress Sela Ward has signed on as Kanakaredes replacement as "an experienced investigator from Washington D.C., whose work is driven by her empathy for the victim."
"We are delighted to have Sela joining CSI: NY', said executive producer Pam Veasey. "With the exciting stories planned for Season 7, she'll be a dynamic addition to the cast and the team."