(CBS) NEW YORK - Actress Melina Kanakaredes, who plays Det. Stella Bonasera on "CSI:NY," is leaving the show after six seasons, CBS has announced.
"We hoped Melina would return to 'CSI: NY' for another season, but we respect her decision to move on," CBS Television Network and CBS Television Studios said in a statement. "She will forever remain a friend to the network and studio and we wish her the very best."
Word of Kanakaredes' departure comes as production is set to begin on a seventh season for the show, which is moving from Wednesday to Friday nights. Actor Gary Sinise stars.
Speculation is rampant about a possible replacement and the most often mentioned actress is Sela Ward.
The 54-year-old Mississippi-born actress is best known for playing Teddy Reed in the 1990s TV drama "Sisters." She has had numerous TV and movie roles since then.
Kanakaredes is one of several actors to leave "CSI" shows this season. Also departing are A.J. Cook ( Jennifer "JJ" Jareau on "Criminal Minds"), Liz Vassey (Wendy Simms on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigations"), and Eddie Cibrian (Jesse Cardoza on "CSI: Miami").