EXCLUSIVE: CBS is looking to further expand its NCIS franchise with another spinoff. The untitled project, written/executive produced by NCIS and NCIS: LA executive producer Shane Brennan, is a planted spinoff from NCIS: LA, which Brennan created and serves as showrunner on. It will feature new characters who will be introduced in two-part episode of NCIS: LA later this season. The proposed spinoff, produced by CBS TV Studios, will follow a small mobile team of agents, who are forced to live and work together, as they crisscross the country solving crimes.
Both NCIS: LA and its mothership series, juggernaut NCIS, originated as planted spinoffs, as two-part episodes of JAG and NCIS, respectively. In using NCIS: LA as a launchpad for the new spinoff, CBS is taking a page from the playbook of the long-running CSI franchise, in which the third series, CSI: NY, also started off as a planted spinoff from spinoff CSI: Miami.
Now in its 10th season, NCIS continues to be one of the biggest scripted series on television. Airing behind it, NCIS: LA, now in its fourth season, has been a solid ratings performer and commands one of the highest off-network syndication license fees for a drama series. (It is the subject of ongoing litigation by NCIS creator Don Bellisario.)
The NCIS franchise is currently the strongest on TV, with its ratings eclipsing those of the two remaining CSI series as well as the lone Law & Order drama, SVU. CBS has been pretty successful building procedural franchises with CSI and the NCIS. Its only recent miss was the Criminal Minds spinoff.
Brennan joined NCIS at the beginning of Season 4 in 2006 and was tapped as showrunner the following season. He ran both the mothership series and NCIS: LA for the spinoff’s first two seasons before focusing on NCIS: LA last year. This marks the second pilot for Paradigm-repped Brennan, who also has King & Maxwell at TNT, also produced by CBS TV Studios where Brennan is under an overall deal.