- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bye-bye ‘CSI’?

It’s apparently gotten to be too much for crime scene investigator Gil Grissom.

Calling it an actual sign off rather than yet another sabbatical, EW.com reports that William Petersen will be leaving “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” in midseason.

“Billy is leaving,” series executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said, “but he will remain throughout the run of the series as an executive producer. And he will, whenever CBS asks, come back. I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Gil Grissom.”

“My biggest problem with leaving the show at any point isn’t leaving Grissom,” said Mr. Petersen, whose previous leave of absence came when he took five weeks off to do theater in Rhode Island. “I’m an actor. It’s time to do other things. “[The hard part will be saying goodbye] to the cast and crew. [So] I’m going to stay as involved as I’m allowed to be throughout the remainder of this show. Until they turn off all the lights.”

Mr. Petersen’s exit will mark the latest blow to the series’ original main lineup, which lost Jorja Fox and Gary Dourdan last season. Both, however, will be making appearances in coming episodes.

“We do have a plan,” Miss Mendelsohn added, assuring fans that there will be blood — both new blood and the regular DNA-filled, splattering kind — to make Mr. Petersen’s pending departure less painful.

Amy’s ‘Office’ gossip

“Saturday Night Live” star Amy Poehler is in final negotiations to join the cast of the new post-“Office” sitcom, Daily Variety reports.

Despite initially being called an “Office” spinoff, the new series isn’t expected to be one after all — confirming speculation that the show would not be an extension of the original but a whole new series.

Miss Poehler would join the already-signed Aziz Ansari, who became the series’ first cast member.

The show is set to bow this winter in the plum Thursday-night 9:30 time slot behind “The Office.”

Miss Poehler, who hosts “SNL’s” “Weekend Update” segment with Seth Meyers, has been with the comedy sketch series since 2001. She also recently appeared in the feature “Baby Mama” and provides the lead voice to the animated series “The Mighty B.”

Ricci’s ‘Grace’ note

Christina Ricci has signed on for a three-episode guest-starring role on TNT’s “Saving Grace,” Variety says.

Miss Ricci will play a young detective who temporarily partners with Grace, played by series star Holly Hunter, while full-time partner Ham Dewey (Kenneth Johnson), takes a leave of absence.

Miss Ricci’s television credits include an Emmy-nominated guest appearance on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006 as well as a recurring role on Fox’s “Ally McBeal.”

“Saving Grace” stars Miss Hunter as an Oklahoma City cop who blends an intense career focus with attempts to reform an often volatile personal life. “Grace” began its second season on Monday.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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