4:14pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'CSI's' George Eads to Exit After 15 Years
CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is losing one of its few remaining original stars.
George Eads, who has played Nick Stokes since the pilot, will exit at the end of the procedural's current 15th season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Eads becomes the latest of CSI's original castmembers to exit. Paul Guilfoyle, who played Captain Jim Brass, left last year after 14 seasons with the procedural.
Eads was the last of the actors who had been with CSI from the start as a series regular; Guilfoyle was the second-longest-running castmember.
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Sources tell THR that Eads' split with the series was an amicable one.
His departure comes after the actor took a leave of absence in 2013 following an on-set clash with one of the show's writers. At the time, sources told THR that the actor was unhappy with the creative direction of his character and clashed with a pregnant co-writer. Word of the incident got back to then-showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and resulted in a meeting that ended with Eads threatening to quit. He returned to the series following his temporary suspension later that season.
CSI has had its fair share of cast changes in its 15-season run. The procedural, which in October had its episode count reduced from 22 to 18, said farewell to stars William Petersen and Gary Dourdan after season nine. Marg Helgenberger departed after season 12; and original stars Jorja Fox and Eads were both briefly fired from the series in 2004 following a short-lived salary standoff with the network and CBS Television Studios. Eads remained a regular, but Fox was downgraded to a guest-star role in season nine and a recurring one in season 10, before being bumped back to regular for season 11.
CSI will exit the schedule in 2015, when it clears the way for spinoff CSI: Cyber on Sundays at 10 p.m.
Eads and CBS declined to comment.