''CSI'''s William Petersen calls in sick. The star of the absence-plagued drama is not bucking for a raise; he has an irregular heartbeat, his rep says

By Gary Susman
Updated July 27, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
William Petersen: Andrew Southam

Maybe ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” should change its theme song from ”Who Are You” to ”Where Are You.” Star William Petersen is the third actor to go missing from the set. Earlier this month, according to the Los Angeles Times, he told CBS he would have to miss some work due to a recently diagnosed medical condition, which three sources close to the situation told the Times was an irregular heartbeat. News of his absence emerged after CBS fired costars George Eads and Jorja Fox, saying they had failed (or threatened to fail) to show up to work as a salary-negotiating tactic. Production on the new season of TV’s top-rated drama stopped July 16, after one day, and has not resumed.

Though Petersen reportedly wants a raise as well, CBS did not consider his absence a sickout. In fact, the Times reports, it may have been a CBS doctor who diagnosed the 51-year-old actor’s ailment. Petersen’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, told the paper that there have been ”some health-related matters that have kept Billy at home.” She said he had not been hospitalized.

As EW.com reported in recent days, Eads and Fox have since been rehired at their original salaries (they blamed their firings on misunderstandings), and even Petersen is expected to show up when ”CSI” resumes production on July 28. ”Billy and the rest of the cast are expected back on the set this Wednesday,” CBS spokesman Chris Ender told the Times on Sunday. ”Everyone is excited to resume production and get started on the fifth season.”