Gary Glasberg, 'NCIS' Showrunner, Dies at 50

Gary Glasberg - Getty - H 2016
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The beloved executive producer on the most watched show in the world passed away in his sleep Wednesday.

Gary Glasberg, the well-loved showrunner on CBS' NCIS, died suddenly Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 50.

Glasberg, a married father of two, was juggling showrunning duties on both the 14th season of NCIS — the most watched show in the world — and its third-year spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans. In May, he signed a new three-year overall deal with NCIS producers CBS Television Studios that would have kept him at the helm of both shows through 2019.

Under Glasberg's oversight, NCIS finished the 2015-16 broadcast season as the most watched broadcast drama for the seventh straight year. The drama averaged 20.2 million total viewers, with its season 13 finale drawing an impressive 18 million — without DVR. The flagship series, starring Mark Harmon, has already been renewed for next season. What's more, Scott Bakula-led spinoff NCIS: New Orleans ranked as the third-most-watched drama last season with an average of 14.8 million total viewers.

Glasberg joined NCIS in 2009 and took over as showrunner in 2011. He has appeared on THR's annual Power Showrunners list every year since. The news comes a week after both NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans returned for their new seasons on CBS. It's unclear at this time who will take over as showrunner given Glasberg's sudden passing or if production on either show will be impacted.

Glasberg, born in New York City, started his writing career with comic books and animated series including Rugrats and Duckman before turning to dramatic procedurals including Crossing Jordan, The $treet, The Evidence, Bones, Shark and The Mentalist.

Glasberg is survived by his wife of 20 years, TV producer and screenwriter Mimi Schmir (with whom he worked on Shark), and their two sons, Dash and Eli. He is also survived by his father, Edwin Glasberg, and sister Mindy Glasberg. A memorial service is being planned for later in October. The family has requested privacy at this time.

"Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain. He inspired us with his leadership, his creative instincts and keen insight. NCIS will not be the same without him, and each of us will miss his smiling face and unwavering humor, which lifted us every day," the cast and crew of NCIS said in a statement.

Added CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller: "Today is an overwhelmingly sad day for NCIS, CBS and anyone who was blessed to spend time with Gary Glasberg. We have lost a cherished friend, gifted creative voice, respected leader and, most memorably, someone whose warmth and kindness was felt by all around him. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife, Mimi, his two sons and all his family and friends."

Said CBS Television Studios president David Stapf: "We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Gary Glasberg. He epitomized the word mensch and brought kindness, integrity and class to everything he did. His remarkable talent as a writer and producer was only matched by his ability to connect with people. Gary was a beloved member of our family and we are so honored that he called CBS his home for so many years. Our hearts go out to his wife, Mimi, two sons, his entire family and all those who loved him."