Melina Kanakaredes leaves 'CSI: NY'

melina-kanakaredes-csi-ny.jpg"CSI: NY" will begin its seventh season without one of its stars, Melina Kanakaredes.

Kanakaredes, who's been with the CBS series since its beginning in 2004, has left the show. Several reports say that she was asked to take a pay cut this season and declined, but both she and the producers put a sunny spin on things in a statement.

"I made some amazing and lifelong friendships during my six seasons on 'CSI: NY,' and I will treasure them forever!" Kanakaredes says.

The network and producer CBS Television Studios, meanwhile, say that "We hoped Melina would return to 'CSI: NY' for another season, but we respect her decision to move on. Her amazing talent and invaluable contribution to the success of the series are greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten. She will forever remain a friend to the network and the studio, and we wish her the very best."

As things stand now, it looks like fans have seen the last of Detective Stella Bonasera -- there are no plans for Kanakaredes to return for the upcoming season. Meanwhile, former "Once and Again" star Sela Ward is reportedly the front-runner to take over for Kanakaredes.

"CSI: NY" is moving from its long-time Wednesday home to Friday nights in the fall. The cast and crew are scheduled to begin filming on July 28.

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Photo credit: CBS
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