The Las Vegas crime lab is one big happy family again, now that CBS has rehired George Eads, who plays sleuth Nick Stokes on ''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.'' CBS agreed to bring him back late Friday, a day after negotiating a return for similarly fired-and-rehired Jorja Fox (who plays investigator Sara Sidle). Both actors had been fired a week earlier over what CBS had characterized as a salary dispute and what the two actors had called misunderstandings.
CBS fired Fox on July 14, alleging she had failed to return a signed pledge not to miss work as a salary negotiating tactic. The network fired Eads the next day for his failure to appear on the set during the first day of shooting the show's fifth season. Fox's reps said she had returned the pledge in the mail, while Eads claimed he'd merely overslept. Both insisted that they had not been holding out for more money.
Nonetheless, each missed out on a potential seven-figure windfall. According to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS had been offering each of them a $20,000-per-episode raise if they agreed to extend their seven-year contracts one more year. For four more seasons of 22 episodes, that would amount to an extra $1.76 million for each actor. Instead, both actors will remain at their current salaries (said to be $100,000 per episode), but they won't have to give CBS that additional one-year commitment.
At any rate, ''CSI'' producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Carol Mendelsohn seemed relieved that Eads and Fox were once again ready to comb through human viscera left at murder scenes. ''George and Jorja have been an important part of 'CSI''s past success,'' the producers said in a statement, ''and we are thrilled that they will once again be part of the show's future.''