'Vegas' rolling on without Caan

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NBC's Friday drama "Las Vegas" is set to return for a fifth season without two of its stars, James Caan and Nikki Cox.

It is understood that the Oscar-nominated actor Caan, who made his first foray into TV series with "Las Vegas," has been contemplating a return to features full time after having to turn down several movie offers because they interfered with his commitment to the show.

"I've had a wonderful four years, worked with great people and made friends for life working on 'Las Vegas,' but I'm eager to return to where my heart is, which is film, and due to the show's schedule, I missed some great opportunities to do that," Caan said. "I wish the show and everyone involved with it continued success."

Cox's departure is said to stem from efforts to reduce the budget of the drama series, which boasts a large ensemble cast and has moved from Mondays to Fridays, where viewership levels are lower.

"I'm very sad and shocked," Cox said through a spokesperson. "I wish them all the best of luck and had a great time working on the shows."

"Vegas," from NBC Universal TV Studio and DreamWorks TV, ranks as the top program in the 9 p.m. Friday slot among adults 18-49, averaging a 2.8 rating/ 8 share in the demo and 9 million viewers.

The series, created by Gary Scott Thompson, follows an elite Las Vegas surveillance team led by Ed Deline (Caan) and Danny McCoy (Josh Duhamel). Thompson is executive producing with Gardner Stern, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Matt Pyken and Kim Newton.

"Vegas" joins NBC's dramas "Heroes" and "Law & Order: SVU" and the comedies "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl," which received early pickups in January for next season.
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