UPDATE: CBS just confirmed Mark Harmon‘s new contract extension and announced that NCIS has been officially renewed for next season. “In a world gone niche, NCIS keeps getting bigger, and Mark Harmon continues to define the role of leading man on the #1 show on television,” said CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. “NCIS is the type of franchise every company wants in today’s global content ecosystem — high-quality storytelling that generates passionate viewers and drives revenue on every conceivable platform.”

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: CBS has secured the future of its top-rated drama. Mark Harmon, star of the network’s NCIS, has signed a new multiyear deal to continue on the veteran series. With him on board, NCIS‘s renewal for an 11th season becomes a pure formality and an early pickup is expected. Just like they did with Harmon’s previous deal two years ago, the actor, CBS and NCIS producer CBS TV Studios wrapped negotiations early, with this year’s pact signed within a day of the one in 2011, which was announced on February 2 that year.

Details about Harmon’s deal are being kept under wraps. I hear it is likely for two years and gives him a healthy raise over the most recent salary of more than $500,000 an episode, possibly over $700,000 an episode. In addition to starring, Harmon, repped by Paradigm and attorney Barry Axelrod, serves as an executive producer/profit participant on NCIS and has a production deal with CBS TV Studios for his company Wings Prods.

The Mark Harmon deal and potential early renewal come on the heels of NCIS delivering its second largest Live+same day audience two weeks ago (22.86 million viewers). That total rose to 25.36 million viewers in L+3, marking the first NCIS broadcast to deliver more than 25 million viewers in Live + DVR viewing. In its 10th season, NCIS continues to fire on all cylinders. For the first time ever, it ranks as television’s most watched program, ahead of Sunday Night Football. NCIS is averaging 21.48 million viewers (in most current ratings), up +7% over last year. It is  the highest rated drama among adults 25-54 (5.9/15) and averages a strong 4.2/12 in adults 18-49.

NCIS is also licensed in more than 200 markets and ranks as the as cable’s No.1 off-network drama in domestic syndication, boosting ratings for USA. NCIS stars Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen and David McCallum. Most of the cast’s contracts are on a different schedule, with only Harmon and de Pablo’s pacts up the same year. De Pablo has not closed a new deal yet but is expected to. Gary Glasberg, Chas. Floyd Johnson, Floyd Johnson, Mark Horowitz, Mark Harmon, Shane Brennan, George Schenck, Frank Cardea and Donald P. Bellisario are executive producers for Belisarius Prods. in association with CBS Television Studios.