Michael Weatherly to Exit 'NCIS'

Broadcast TV's most-watched drama will see one of its original stars exit at season's end.
Courtesy of Sonja Flemming/CBS

There's another change coming to CBS' NCIS.

Star and fan favorite Michael Weatherly is exiting broadcast television's highest-rated drama, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

"After 13 years on NCIS, Michael Weatherly is leaving the show at the end of this season," CBS said Tuesday in a statement. "He is a valued part of the CBS family, and the immense charm and talent he brings to the screen as ‘Very’ Special Agent Tony DiNozzo has helped make NCIS what it is today — the No. 1 drama in the world. We thank Michael for all of his contributions to this successful franchise and look forward to continuing to develop projects with him as part of our ongoing development deal."

Weatherly confirmed his departure on Twitter, writing: "DiNozzo is a wonderful, quixotic character & I couldn't have had more fun playing him over the past 13 seasons. Les Moonves & CBS gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I will miss the amazing crew & cast, who are like family to me, & to the fans all over the world — THANK YOU, it’s been a fantastic ride!"

The news comes four days after the actor-producer pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and was sentenced to a three-month alcohol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving program. 

Weatherly becomes the second lead on NCIS to exit the long-running franchise. Star Cote de Pablo departed after season 11, with CBS Corp. CEO Moonves telling reporters at the time that the company did everything it could to keep the actress on the series. 
 
"We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — then we offered her even more money," he said at the time. "We really didn't want to lose her; we love her. We think she's terrific. We obviously were in discussions, and ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was her decision. We don't like losing anybody. We did everything humanly possible, and we exhausted every opportunity. Ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show." 

De Pablo went on to co-star on CBS' limited series The Dovekeepers

Weatherly, meanwhile, will continue to be involved with the company. The actor-producer has a development deal with studio counterpart CBS Television Studios.
 
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