Gary Glasberg, executive producer/creator of CBS’ new drama NCIS: New Orleanssaid at the new series’ TCA panel today that Rob Kerkovich (Cloverfield, The Rebound) will join the cast as a forensic scientist. Glasberg, who appeared on the panel with co-EPs Jeffrey Lieber and Mark Harmon and cast members Zoe McLellan, Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder and Lucas Black, said the series will begin shooting in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler called NCIS and its spinoffs a “billion-dollar franchise.” The newest member of the club was introduced as a planted spinoff via two episodes of NCIS earlier this year.

Said Glasberg: “It’s a challenge, to sit down when you have a planted spinoff and continue to support the NCIS family and also to introduce this amazing team that’s set down in New Orleans. Based on the response (to the NCIS: New Orleans episodes), we’re thrilled to do that, and give people even more.”

Said Bakula: “We have big shoes to follow, big footprints in the sand…. this is potentially a great partnership of a new show, but the ball that’s being handed off is a perfect spiral, you know?”

Bakula was asked about whether his character would be returning to HBO’s Looking. The actor said he would be returning “if it can be worked out.”

Pounder was asked to compare the her 1987-1988 series Women In Prison with TV’s more contemporary take on women in prison, Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. The earlier series, she says, was “kind of like Eight Is Enough. It was never a hard-hitting comedy.” Of Orange, she said she “had a lot to do with that at the beginning, I know it more intimately than most people think.” She called the new series more realistic and more cryptic with “a different kind of humor that I think people are ready for.”