By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES - Fired "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" actor George Eads says he wasn't staging a salary holdout when he missed work — he overslept.
He hoped what he called a "big misunderstanding" with CBS and its chief, Leslie Moonves, will be resolved by the end of the week and he will be back to work on the hit drama, Eads said Wednesday.
"Yeah, definitely, I look forward to going back," he told a Television Critics Association meeting. He was on hand to publicize his upcoming TV movie "Evel Knievel," airing July 30 on TNT.
Eads and "CSI" co-star Jorja Fox (news) were dumped by CBS last week after failing to show up for the start of production on the upcoming fifth season. The network said they had demanded raises beyond their contracts.
The actors reportedly were making $100,000 per episode for the series, which airs about 24 episodes a season.
CBS had no immediate comment on Eads' remarks, network spokesman Chris Ender said Wednesday. A call to Fox's publicist was not immediately returned.
"They think it's about money and it's not," Eads said. "I overslept. ... I woke up white as a sheet 3 1/2 hours after I was supposed to be on the set."
He called in, said he was on his way and was told, "Don't bother," Eads said. The Texas native compared himself to a football star who makes a similar error.
"It's like I'm the quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys and I overslept the first day of practice," he said. "I'd expect the coach to have me run hills and run wind sprints until the sun goes down, not you know, completely fire me."
Asked if CBS had sought an apology from him, he replied: "Let me tell you, I've apologized nine ways to Sunday. It's a big misunderstanding, straight up."
"I want all this to work out. 'CSI' is a part of who I am," Eads said.
Eads said he wants to speak with Moonves to resolve the issue but had yet to reach him. He compared getting hold of Moonves, a top executive with CBS parent company Viacom, to reaching the mysterious Charlie in "Charlie's Angels."
"If after I've spoken to him from my heart he knows exactly what the situation is, he's the boss. It's still up to him."
At a session last Sunday with the TV critics, Moonves called the firings a fair business decision.
"There comes a point where we feel a contract is a contract. ... We all have to look out for the future of the network television business," said Moonves, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom.
Eads echoed those comments Wednesday, saying he agreed "a contract is a contract."