A heavier 'Case' load for Morris

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"Cold Case" star Kathryn Morris is heading into the upcoming fifth season of the hit CBS crime drama with a salary bump and a production deal.

On the feature side, she has been cast in Yari Film Group's dark comedy "The Sophomore," starring Bruce Willis.

Morris' raise will bring her paycheck to $180,000-$190,000 in the next two seasons of "Cold Case," sources said. The series -- which stars Morris as Lilly Rush, a dedicated detective in the Philadelphia homicide squad working on crimes that have never been solved -- hails from Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Paramount Network TV.

Morris is launching her own production company, which will have a first-look deal with WBTV. She is in the process of hiring a development executive.

It is common practice for the stars of successful series to get production deals with the studio behind the series. For instance, Anthony LaPaglia, the star of "Without a Trace" -- another CBS crime drama from the trio of Bruckheimer TV, WBTV and CBS Par TV -- launched his Last Straw Prods. two years ago. The company also is based at WBTV with a first-look deal.

Since its launch in 2003, "Cold Case" has been a solid ratings performer for CBS on Sundays. In 2004, the procedural drama fetched $1.4 million per episode in an off-net syndication deal with TNT. The cable network will begin running repeats in the fall.

In "Sophomore," which is set at a high school with Willis as the principal, Morris will play Nurse Platt, a vegan/hippie stoner high school nurse. She will shoot the film next month around her "Cold Cast" schedule.

On the big screen, Morris next co-stars opposite Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson in Rod Lurie's "Resurrecting the Champ," which opens Friday.

She is repped by Endeavor, Dave Fleming of Mosaic Media Group and attorney Jason Sloane.
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