The costars are due on the set this Thursday after being fired briefly from the hit show

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 26, 2004 08:00 AM

Expect a reunion this week on the set of CBS’s top-rated CSI: Crime Scene Investigation after the network reportedly played hardball with two of its stars.

George Eads, one of two actors who was fired from the show two weeks ago after the network claimed he was holding out for a salary boost, will return to the cameras this Thursday to begin the crime show’s new season, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Last week it was reported that costar Jorja Fox, who also had been bumped from the series after not showing up for work, was back in the fold, having made nice with network higher-ups.

“George and Jorja have been an important part of CSI’s past success, and we are thrilled that they will once again be part of the show’s future,” said a statement from CSI executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Carol Mendelsohn.

There has been no comment from the Eads camp, though speaking to TV critics last week, the square-jawed, Texas-born actor, 37, said: “They think it’s about money, and it’s not. I overslept. … I woke up white as a sheet 3 1/2 hours after I was supposed to be on the set.”

He called in to report his tardiness, he said, but was told, “Don’t bother.”

Last week, Leslie Moonves, co-president and co-chief operating officer of CBS’s Viacom parent, told reporters that reps for Eads and Fox had made “veiled threats” that the two actors would not report for work as scheduled unless they received salary hikes for the coming season.

Although Fox and Eads were in the fifth year of seven-year contracts with the series, CBS had offered the two modest raises, believed to be in the $20,000 range, for the coming season in exchange for them extending their contracts by one year, through CSI’s eighth season.

They will now reportedly head back to work for their existing salaries of about $100,000 per episode – or about $2.2 million a year.