Nellie Andreeva

This is a pretty big get for CBS, which has been trying to lure Elisabeth Shue for years. The actress, an Oscar nominee for Leaving Las Vegas, is joining the cast of CBS’ veteran crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as the new female lead opposite Ted Danson. Shue will play the newest CSI, fresh off an anger management course, amid rumors that D.B. Russell (Danson) fired her when she worked for him in Seattle. She will succeed Marg Helgenberger, who is departing her full-time gig on CSI in January but is expected to return for occasional guest sports, reprising her role as Catherine Willows. Shue, who will make her first appearance in the Feb. 15 episode, will be a new regular on CSI, her first major series role since she co-starred on the short-lived 1984 ABC drama Call To Glory, produced by Paramount Television, the predecessor to CSI producer CBS TV Studios. Shue’s biggest TV stint since then had been a two-episode arc on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, though she has been getting pilot offers by the networks every year, with CBS particularly aggressive in its pursuit of the Hollow Man and The Karate Kid actress. The casting of Shue completes a lead overhaul on CSI, now in its 12th season. The series, which started off with William Petersen and Helgenberger as the stars and had Helgenberger subsequently partner with Laurence Fishburne and Ted Danson, will now have 2 new leads in Danson, who joined the series at the beginning of the season, and Shue. For CBS, getting Shue and Danson marks the second time this year that the network has been able to land big-name actors as the new leads of aging series. It first did it in May, with Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on comedy Two And A Half Men. After 11 seasons as CBS’ 9 PM anchor on Thursday, CSI moved to Wednesdays this fall, shoring up the 10 PM slot. It most recently averaged 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers, up a tenth in the demo from the previous week, to top the hour in 18-49 (tied with ABC’s Revenge) and total viewers. Shue, repped by CAA and Management 360, stars in the upcoming Relativity Media film House at the End of the Street and is currently filming Fox 2000’s Of Men And Mavericks.

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