A day after making the surprise announcement that Melina Kanakaredes would not be returning as one of the stars of CSI: NY, CBS has confirmed that the veteran actor Sela Ward will be her replacement on the crime series.
Ward was widely rumoured to have been in negotiations to take a lead role on the programme, according to several sources at the network. She will appear as an as-yet unnamed detective alongside Gary Sinise (Detective Mac Taylor) on the seventh season of the CSI spinoff when it returns later this year.
CBS said that Ward's character in the series - "an experienced investigator from Washington, D.C." - would be somebody "whose work is driven by her empathy for the victim".
"I am thrilled to be working with Gary and this terrific group of people," said Ward in a statement this morning. "I'm a huge fan."
The programme's executive producer, Pam Veasey, described Ward as "a dynamic addition to the cast and the team".
Ward, 54, is best known on television for her roles as Teddy Reed in the drama series Sisters and Lily Manning in Once and Again. She was reportedly offered leading roles on the first seasons of CSI: Miami and Desperate Housewives, but turned the offers down to spend more time with her family.
Media Spy discussion: CSI