Actor to replace Chris Noth on USA series

Jeff Goldblum is set to replace Chris Noth next season on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Like Noth, Goldblum will be seen in half of the series’ episodes; discussions are ongoing with Vincent D’Onofrio to continue headlining the other half.

Noth, who joined the show in 2005, when D’Onofrio opted to reduce his workload, reps the show’s latest departure. Exec producer Warren Leight recently left and signed a deal with HBO, where he’ll oversee the second season of “In Treatment.” A replacement for Leight has not yet been named.

It’s the second exit from the franchise for Noth, who originated the character of Mike Logan on the show’s mothership in 1990 before leaving in 1995; he later resurrected the character for the telepic “Exiled: A Law & Order Movie” and then again for “Criminal Intent.”

“Chris has been a member of the ‘Law & Order’ family since the beginning, and Mike Logan is one of the most popular detectives in the history of television,” exec producer Dick Wolf said.

As for Goldblum, thesp’s TV credits include the recent short-lived NBC drama “Raines.” He also appeared in the Starz movie “Pittsburgh” and in an episode of that cabler’s series “Head Case.”

“Jeff’s presence will add a new dimension to an already successful show,” Wolf said.

USA is airing seventh season segs of “Criminal Intent” and last month gave the show a 16-episode order for its eighth.

USA, Wolf and Universal Media Studios are still working out deals not only with D’Onofrio but with the show’s other stars as well, including Eric Bogosian, Julianne Nicholson and Kathryn Erbe.

Production on “Criminal Intent” is still slated to start by the end of the summer for a fall return.

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