2:54pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Michael Weatherly to Exit 'NCIS'
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!"
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.
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.