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CBS is prepping for a potential third NCIS series.
The network has slated a two-part episode to air in the spring that will serve as the foundation for a possible spinoff, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. Filming will take place in February.
NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg and series star Mark Harmon would executive produce the “character-driven” project, which will take place in New Orleans.
STORY: TV Trend Alert: Fall Spinoffs Hoping to Turn Hits Into Franchises
The NCIS New Orleans office handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. With its rich setting of music, fun and debauchery, New Orleans is a magnet for military personnel on leave.
Should the CBS TV Studios project move forward to series, it would become the second spinoff to come from the NCIS flagship. NCIS: Los Angeles was successfully launched through a backdoor pilot via a two-part NCIS episode that aired in April 2008. (NCIS itself was an offshoot of JAG.) Last season, CBS ordered backdoor pilot NCIS: Red, a potential spinoff of NCIS: LA, which did not move forward to series.
STORY: ‘NCIS’ EP Promises ‘Heart-Wrenching’ Exit for Cote de Pablo in Letter to Fans
The news comes as NCIS heads into its 11th season, which will see the exit of longtime regular Cote de Pablo. Glasberg wrote in a letter to fans that de Pablo’s character, Ziva David, will receive a “heart-wrenching” farewell that promises to resolve her storyline and be a “moment in television history.”
Spinoffs are nothing new for CBS, which at one point touted three different CSI series (CSI, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY) on the schedule and attempted to establish a Criminal Minds franchise. Other networks are also expanding their most valuable series, with ABC launching Once Upon a Time spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, The CW touting The Vampire Diaries‘ offshoot The Originals and NBC rolling out Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago PD.
“Marketing dollars are really challenged, and for a spinoff you’ve already got a built-in audience and you probably don’t have to work as hard to promote it,” CBS TV Studios president David Stapf told THR back in August. “In all those cases, it sounds like smart business.”
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