'CSI: NY': Gary Sinise and Sela Ward's paths cross again

sela-ward-gary-sinise-summer-press-tour-2010-gi.jpg Gary Sinise is in new co-star Sela Ward's company for the upcoming season of "CSI: NY," but it isn't the first time.

With location filming in New York set for next week, production is well under way on the CBS drama's seventh year, which launches in the series' new Friday slot Sept. 24. While investigating a murder inside the crime lab itself, Sinise's Detective Mac Taylor welcomes forensics sleuth Jo Danville (Ward), the replacement for Stella Bonasera with the departure of founding cast member Melina Kanakaredes.

The arrival of "Once and Again" and "Sisters" Emmy winner Ward has given Sinise, who's also a producer on "CSI: NY," a pleasant reunion. "I met her once, back in the '90s, when we were on the award-show circuit," he tells Zap2it. "I was being nominated for (the HBO film) 'Truman,' and she also was in the TV-movie category for the Jessica Savitch movie she did (Lifetime's 'Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story,' about the late newscaster).

"We were bumping into each other at the different events, and I sat next to her at the CableACE Awards. She won and I won, and when the winners are backstage, they get their picture taken together. There's a picture online somewhere of us holding up our awards, and that was the last time I saw her until she came to work on our show."

Sinise credits CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves with eyeing Ward for the sudden "CSI: NY" opening: "Les is pretty smart, and he had Sela in mind from the get-go as soon as we were looking for somebody new. That's where we started, and that's where we ended."

Since he has some extra days off from "CSI: NY" before hitting the Big Apple, Sinise's destination this weekend is Alaska, one stop among the many he makes on behalf of the USO. He performs regularly for servicemen with his Lt. Dan Band, named for his "Forrest Gump" movie character.

"We're going to a bunch of different bases up there and seeing a lot of the troops," Sinise reports. "We've played just dozens and dozens of bases all around the world, some of them multiple times. I've played in hospitals for the wounded and at various events to support the soldiers and their families, and it's something I really appreciate doing."

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