As part of a mass renewal of 15 scripted series, 18 overall, CBS this morning picked up its formidable NCIS franchise for next season. That includes flagship NCIS, the most watched drama on broadcast TV, for an 18th season, and spinoffs NCIS: Los Angeles for a 12th season and NCIS: New Orleans for a seventh.
CBS and CBS TV Studios, which produces the NCIS franchise, found themselves in a very rare position where the contracts of the leads on all three series, as well as other cast members, were simultaneously up at the end of the 2019-20 season. That includes NCIS star/executive producer Mark Harmon, NCIS: Los Angeles leads LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell and NCIS: New Orleans’ leading man/EP Scott Bakula.
CBS TV Studios closed a new deal with Mark Harmon, who also exec produces NCIS: New Orleans, ahead of the renewal. I hear Bakula’s new pact has just closed, while LL Cool J, O’Donnell’s contracts are being finalized, with both expected to come back. After reaching agreements with the stars of the three shows to secure renewals, CBS TV Studios is expected to pursue new contracts with other cast members whose current deals are up, including everyone on NCIS: New Orleans who are coming to the end of their original six-year pacts. There had been chatter that the newest offshoot could relocate to Los Angeles but I hear that the show is staying based in the Big Easy.
The coronavirus pandemic cut short the current seasons of the three NCIS series, and it is unclear when the newly picked up seasons will begin production as studios are still in the planning stages of how to safely restart production amid the pandemic.
Seventeen seasons in, NCIS is the most watched series on television, averaging over 15.33 million viewers (most current). During the 2009-2010 broadcast season, it became the #1 drama/scripted program on television, and has remained so for nine of the last ten seasons. The series tars Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, along with Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, Maria Bello, Brian Dietzen and Diona Reasonover, with Rocky Carroll and David McCallum.
NCIS: Los Angeles stars O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Linda Hunt, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, Barrett Foa and Renée Felice Smith.
NCIS: New Orleans stars Bakula,, Vaness Ferlito, Necar Zadegan, Rob Kerkovich, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Charles Michael Davis and CCH Pounder