Gary Dourdan by Andrew MacPherson/CBS Gary Dourdan by Andrew MacPherson/CBS

With all the attention focused on William Petersen's successful contract negotiations, this ginormous scoopbit nearly slipped right by: Sources confirm to me exclusively that original CSIer Gary Dourdan - whose contract is also set to expire next month - is leaving the show. Although a precise timeframe is not known, CSI's May 15 season finale could serve as Warrick's swan song.

Regarding Dourdan's exit, a CBS spokesperson says, "We can't confirm or deny this information."

This is the second major departure to rock CSI this season. As anyone with a pulse and/or access to knows, Jorja Fox made her final appearance as Sara in November. The good news: Marg Helgenberger and George Eads are expected to follow Petersen's lead and re-up with the show.

Meanwhile, CSI execs aren't wasting any time searching for Dourdan's replacement. I'm told producers have put out a casting call for a new male series regular in his late twenties to early thirties to play Ray Santoro, a "handsome, smart and athletic" CSI who transfers from Henderson to join the graveyard shift at the Las Vegas crime lab.

OK, CSI fans: Are you sad to see Dourdan/Warrick go? And in terms of the potential impact to the show, is this less than, equal to or greater than Fox's exit last fall? Too shocked to process it all? Splash some cold Snapple on your face and start discussing!

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