Melina Kanakaredes gets replaced, and Amy Adams will play Janis Joplin

By Lynette Rice and Nicole Sperling
July 23, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Sela Ward talks about her new gig on CSI: NY
CSI: NY may have lost star Melina Kanakaredes and been relegated to Fridays this fall, but at least CBS did something to soften the blow: It lured former Sisters star Sela Ward, 54, to join the drama as a series regular — her first such role since starring on ABC’s Once and Again from 1999 to 2002. (She had a recurring part on House from 2005 to 2006.) ”It’s going to be a whole new world,” Ward tells EW exclusively. ”On Sisters, I was always in the kitchen, saying things like ‘Could you pass the cookies, Georgie?’ Now I’m going to be doing this and…oh my. I’m just stepping into a room I’ve never been in.” The producers reassured the veteran TV actress that she won’t be replacing Kanakaredes, who opted to leave the show before it starts production on its seventh season this month (her final episode as Det. Stella Bonasera aired in May). ”We wanted to make this a unique character for Sela,” explains exec producer Pam Veasey, who hints that Ward’s yet-to-be-named investigator will put people before science. ”It was all so unexpected but invigorating. She’ll help revitalize and jump-start our show. We get to reintroduce it and maybe attract new audiences, now that it’s on Friday.” She might not want to share those expectations with Ward, who thinks it is going to be a lot less stressful joining a series in progress. ”It certainly takes the pressure off having to carry a show,” says Ward, who signed a multiyear deal. ”There are advantages to that. My kids are older, and I’ve really missed working. In this situation, I can still be a mom and have a life. I’ve never done a procedural like this. It will be fun.” Clearly she has yet to see or touch one of the show’s nasty-looking cadavers.

Amy Adams lands Janis Joplin role…but will the movie ever happen?
Amy Adams‘ reps have confirmed that the 35-year-old actress plans to play Janis Joplin in a biopic called Get It While You Can. But she might want to hold off on singing lessons. She’s just the latest in a string of stars who have signed on to play the rock icon over the past decade. None of the rest have seen their projects make it to production. (See chart for details.) This time around may be less daunting. Director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) is set to direct, and Fox Searchlight may come on to distribute. Meirelles is due to direct another job first, but if that doesn’t come through, he could be filming Adams as the late singer before the year is up. We’ve seen this all before, of course, but let’s hope this time we get to watch someone sing the blues.

A decade of Janis Joplin hopefuls
Lili Taylor
Planned to play Joplin in 1999

Renée Zellweger
Landed role in 2003 for never-made biopic Piece of My Heart

Inherited Taylor’s spot in 2004 for what is now called The Gospel According to Janis

Zooey Deschanel
Attached to Gospel in 2006 after Pink dropped out

Amy Adams
Joins new Joplin production in 2010

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