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The Real Reason George Eads And Jorja Fox Were Fired From CSI

One of the most successful TV franchises of the 21st century will roar back to CBS after a five-year hiatus when "CSI: Vegas" premieres in October with some of the franchise's biggest stars back in action. The new series, the fifth in the franchise, will be the first "CSI" since the short-lived "CSI: Cyber" was canceled in 2016, and fans are excited for the return of a trio of actors remembered fondly by fans of the original "CSI," which ran from 2000 to 2015 and chronicled the forensic investigators of the Las Vegas police crime lab. Yes, William Petersen is back as team leader Gil Grissom, as is Wallace Langham as CSI technician David Hodges, along with fan-favorite Jorja Fox as scientist Sara Sidle.

But as fans anticipate the impending "CSI" comeback, many are also wondering about another original cast member –- George Eads, who played forensic scientist Nick Stokes –- and recalling the time that both Eads and Fox were unceremoniously fired from the series. If you missed the behind-the-scenes drama from 2004, you'd never know the duo was let go, because they were rehired very soon after. But at the time, when "CSI" was riding high in the ratings, it was shocking that two popular performers, whose characters were beloved by fans, would be let go so abruptly.

So, why did CBS end up firing George Eads and Jorja Fox from "CSI" when the program was in its prime? We went back to the scene of the crime to find out, and here's what we found.

Jorja Fox and George Eads apparently went to extremes for a desired raise

Back in 2004, "CSI" was the most-viewed drama on television (per Zap2it), and George Eads and Jorja Fox were looking to cash in on such success. Although their contracts paid them a hefty $100,000 per episode — which amounted to $2.2 million per season — as is, the actors (or, more likely, their representatives) felt the show's increasingly impressive viewership numbers should have been better reflected in their paychecks. In pursuit of significant raises that they felt they deserved, both of them quickly showed that they were more than willing to play hardball with CBS to make it happen. 

As reported by Entertainment Weekly in July of 2004, Eads and Fox were threatening to skip work on "CSI" altogether unless the network increased their pay. Sure enough, they carried out their plan — leaving behind roughly $6.6 million apiece that they would have earned over the next three years — and CBS promptly made examples out of them by firing them. Eads' failure to show up for work one morning and Fox's inability to fax back a signed pledge stating she would not do the same reportedly served as the catalyst for the station's bold move. Suffice to say, it didn't take long for either actor to change their tune in the days to come.

Fox and Eads' plan failed, but their CSI tenures weren't smooth sailing from then on

CBS's punishment worked, seeing as, within relatively no time at all, the stars were issuing public apologies and offering explanations for why the situation fell into such disarray. Jorja Fox attested that she signed the pledge but put it in the mail, and George Eads insisted he had only accidentally overslept, with the latter referring to the drama as a "big misunderstanding." In response, CBS relented and rehired both actors, but at a cost: no new raises, even though some other cast members saw their salaries increased. Had they played ball in the first place and agreed to extend their contracts by one more year, they'd have each earned an extra $20,000 per episode.

Though this may seem like the happy ending everyone was waiting for, this tale isn't over just yet. Eads was again given an involuntary "leave of absence" from "CSI" in 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after he initiated an altercation with a pregnant staff writer, voicing frustrations over the direction of his character. He also once again left the series just before the show's finale two years later. Eads then went on to co-star on CBS's "MacGyver," only to exit that series prematurely as well. Fox too briefly left "CSI" a second time in 2007, but her departure this time was amicable and short-lived. She'd returned to the program by the time the next season rolled around and stayed until the end. 

All these years later, Jorja Fox is coming back for the newest version of "CSI," and fans can only hope she'll hold onto the job this time around.