12:43pm PT by Michael O'Connell, Lesley Goldberg
CBS Renews 'NCIS,' Extends Contract With Mark Harmon
CBS has ordered an 11th season of NCIS. The ratings juggernaut, along with star and executive producer Mark Harmon, will be back for the 2013-14 television season.
The early renewal comes just a few days after the network gave a green light to another season of comedy How I Met Your Mother. The Big Bang Theory also is set to return, per a two-season pickup last year.
STORY: CBS Eyeing 'NCIS: LA' Spinoff Series
"In a world gone niche, NCIS keeps getting bigger, and Mark Harmon continues to define the role of leading man on the No. 1 show on television," said CBS Corp. president and 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."
Ten seasons in, NCIS recently hit several ratings milestones. In addition to pulling in its biggest audience ever, it now ranks as TV's most-watched program with an average 21.48 million tuning in this season. That even puts it ahead of NBC's Sunday Night Football. NCIS, up 7 percent over last year, also is averaging a 4.2 rating with adults 18-49. Widely successful abroad, NCIS is licensed in more than 200 markets.
Meanwhile, the network is prepping a potential third series in the NCIS franchise -- itself a spinoff of JAG, which ran from 1995-2005 on CBS. The NCIS: LA spinoff is casting for the back-door pilot that would air as an episode of the LL Cool J starrer. It would revolve around a mobile team of agents who live and work together as they travel the country to solve crimes. NCIS: LA boss Shane Brennan will write and executive produce.
The deal for NCIS coincides with a new contract extension for Harmon. He's repped by Paradigm and attorney Barry Axelrod.