This is a bit of a rinse-and-repeat pattern that many NCIS fans out there are more than familiar with at this point. Rumors pop up about Mark Harmon leaving the show, and then we come in to try to clean things up a little bit.
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The latest one is a little bit surprising, mostly because the scope of it. There are a number of outlets out there this week raising questions about Harmon’s future with the show because of the news that he is helping to develop a new CBS series based on John Sandford’s best-selling Prey novels. The first thing that we should point out here is one word: Developing. This doesn’t mean that the series is even going to get made. There are still so many steps before we get to that and pilot development season is a long one.
Now, let’s say for a minute that Prey actually happens. Where does that leave Harmon? Well, for starters, he would be an executive producer on the series … but he’s not the showrunner. That would presumably be, at least for now, Ed Decter. The responsibility for executive producers can vary across the board, but Harmon’s involvement does not have to be on a day-to-day level. His name behind the scenes alone holds a tremendous amount of weight. If this series is picked up, it wouldn’t be the only show beyond his own with his name on it; he is also an executive producer over on NCIS: New Orleans. He can balance all of this without a problem, provided that he wants to.
The next thing to consider here is simply this: Harmon is already signed through season 17 of NCIS. While it is possible in theory that he could leave early, as some actors occasionally do, to suggest that he could just because of this news doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
As a matter of fact, there is no reason to correlate the news of him producing a new show to a potential exit, mostly because if we were to suggest that, then we’d also have to suggest that Michael Weatherly was leaving Bull or that Eric Christian Olsen was leaving NCIS: Los Angeles. All of these actors have other shows in development and, at least for now, one of them are planning to depart. If they ever do, it’s not going to be due to producing responsibilities, most likely. They may just want to try some other things out in their careers.
NCIS is still within its first half of the season; as previously reported, new episodes return to CBS come December 4.
Do you want to see Mark Harmon stick around NCIS still for a long time moving forward? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: CBS.)