'CSI' STARS GET THE BOOT THANKS TO RAY ROMANO

Published on: July 22, 2004

Everybody doesn't love Raymond! Ray Romano's holdout for a huge raise is behind the recent firing of two popular "CSI" stars, charges an insider.

George Eads and Jorja Fox poked the CBS eye too hard when they tried Romano's stunt of squeezing the network for a fat raise shortly before the new season -- but the execs had decided not to tolerate a rerun of Romano's game plan.

FURIOUS EXECS

"CBS was furious last year when Romano held out for more money before agreeing to another season," revealed an insider.

"By the time Ray came to an agreement for his ninth and final season, he was making nearly $2 million per episode."

The network moved swiftly to stop its other performers from holding out for more money before their contracts were up, disclosed the insider.

"CBS sent out letters to every star while they were on hiatus giving instructions to sign and return the letters to confirm they would be showing up on the set ready to go to work at the scheduled time."

But Jorja and George refused to play by CBS' rules, according to the insider.

The result: Both were fired.

"Everyone attached to the show was shocked because it's unusual for executives to take such a hard stand -- especially on a hit show like this -- but they were fed up," confided the insider.

BAD ADVICE

"Unfortunately, it looks like George and Jorja were given bad advice when they asked for a raise from $100,000 per episode to $250,000 per episode just days before they were scheduled to start shooting the new season.

"CBS had offered them a modest increase and told them to take it or leave it.

"One exec was overheard saying, 'There are too many actors in Hollywood begging for jobs to let any one person decide they're going to run a show. It takes only one phone call to get a good replacement. Just ask David Caruso!' "

Caruso left the ABC hit "NYPD Blue" after its first season and was banking on a big movie career -- which never materialized. Now he's returned to the small screen on "CSI: Miami."

CBS execs have moved quickly to beef up the remaining "CSI" cast, revealed the insider.

NEW CHARACTER

"They've already listed a new character named Rachel Carson on a bulletin distributed to managers so they can submit their acting clients for the job.

"However, there's still a chance Jorja and George will be reinstated -- but right now the execs are so furious no one is talking."

-- PATRICIA SHIPP

UPDATE: Eads And Fox Back At CSI
George Eads and Jorja Fox have been rehired by CBS to star in another season of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." The actors didn't show up for work when the series resumed production prompting CBS to take a tough stand and fire them. When both actors said this was not a work stoppage and a misunderstanding, CBS decided to forgive and forget.