William Petersen, the star of hit US forensic drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, has signed up for a ninth season, it has been announced.

The 55-year-old, already one of the highest paid TV actors in North America, will reportedly receive $600,000 (£303,000) per episode.

In the eighth series of CSI, Liev Schreiber stood in for Petersen in order for him to appear in a production of the Dublin Carol in Rhode Island.

Petersen is understood to have reached a deal where he only appears in episodes that allow him to fulfil commitments to the Christmas-themed play.

The actor, who has played forensic entomologist Gil Grissom – dubbed America's answer to Sherlock Holmes – since 2000, ultimately plans to take the Dublin Carol to his hometown of Chicago.

CBS, the producers of CSI, were keen to secure their star for another series after losing original cast member Jorja Fox last autumn.

CSI has been a massive hit since debuting eight years ago, spawning several spin-offs and a new genre of crime programmes.

UK broadcaster Five has also earned some of its largest audiences through CSI episodes.

01/04/2008 18:19:07