Why Fishburne, ‘CSI’ parted ways
Q: Can you tell me why they are replacing Laurence Fishburne with Ted Danson on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”?
Jack Frazee, Grove City, Ohio A: Fishburne’s contract for the CBS crime drama was up after the past season, and the announcement of his exit indicated it was his decision not to return. That forced the show’s producers to start looking for another leading man, and though both Fishburne and William Petersen had come to “CSI” from the movie and stage worlds, the series went with a familiar television face in recruiting Danson. He starts his run with the 12th season premiere on Sept. 21.
Q: In the Hallmark Channel movie “A Valentine’s Date,” who played the female judge, and where have we seen her before?
June Hocking, Ilion, N.Y. A: It was Catherine Hicks, undoubtedly best known for the 11 seasons she spent playing the wife and mother on the WB Network/CW series “7th Heaven.” She also had series runs on the daytime serial “Ryan’s Hope,” an adaptation of the movie “The Bad News Bears” and the mystery series “Tucker’s Witch.”
As for feature films, Hicks played the mom in the original “Child’s Play” thriller that introduced the homicidal doll Chucky, and she was the present-day ally of the Enterprise crew in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”
Q: Is “Merlin” going to return to Syfy? And if so, when?
Dee Brown, Palm Coast, Fla. A: Yes, a fourth season of the saga is coming to Syfy. The most the network is saying about when it will start is “2012.” Colin Morgan will be back in the title role, and Nathaniel Parker (“Stardust”) will be added to the cast.
Q: For the last few weeks, Cenk Uygur has been missing from MSNBC with no explanation. Can you please find out what happened to him?
Judy Vollrath, Racine, Wis. A: He left the network after being offered a different on-air position. Uygur declined it, then spoke out quite openly about his belief that he was being demoted because of his challenging approach to politicians. Uygur continues to practice his style of interviewing and commentary as a blogger and on the Internet and radio show titled “The Young
Q: What can you tell me about the actress who plays Kensi Blye on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and what happened to her right eye? Dennis Brooks Sr., |Windham, Maine A: We get a lot of mail about that eye, and the simple answer is that Daniela Ruah has a very visible birthmark in it. The actress is of Portuguese descent, but she was born in Boston, then raised back in Portugal.
She’s been acting since her teens, much of it done over there until she landed her role on the CBS spinoff of “NCIS.” Additionally, Ruah won the first season of “Danca Comigo,” Portugal’s version of what is known here as “Dancing With the Stars.”
Q: On a 2008 episode of “NCIS” called “In the Zone,” there is an actor who very much resembles Jack Webb. His character’s name was Ridgeway. Is he related? Pat Leyendecker, Pasadena,
Md. A: Rick Hoffman, seen lately on the USA Network show “Suits,” is no relation to “Dragnet” icon Webb.
Q: I remember “North and South” being a program about the Civil War. What year was it made, and who were the main characters?
Jeanne Winnick, Dublin, Ohio A: There actually were three ABC miniseries inspired by the John Jakes novel: “North and South,” first shown in 1985; “North and South, Book II” in 1986; and “Heaven and Hell: North and South, Book III” in 1994. The principal characters in the first two were Orry Main (played by Patrick Swayze) and George Hazard (James Read), West Point pals who grew up to be on opposite sides of the Civil War.
Kirstie Alley, David Carradine, Philip Casnoff, Lesley-Anne Down, Genie Francis, Terri Garber and Wendy Kilbourne (who would marry co-star Read in real life) were among the other principal cast members of the first two “North and South” dramas, and some also appeared in the third. They were supported by big-name “guest stars” including Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, Hal Holbrook, James Stewart, Olivia de Havilland, Linda Evans, Robert Wagner and Billy Dee Williams.
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Ted Danson is the new lead actor on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” beginning on Sept. 21.
Actor Laurence Fishburne has left the cast of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”