Today, CBS has made it very clear that they are committed to the NCIS franchise. We’ve always felt like the show could go on forever and now, the network is throwing down the gauntlet and saying “you know what, we feel absolutely the same!”
Rather than just giving the flagship CBS show a renewal for an additional season or two, we’ve learned that CBS has gone ahead and given a green light to a whopping 24 additional seasons! That means that the show’s going to be on the air until the 2040s — even if we all collectively have no idea what the TV industry will look like then, viewers are still going to be able to watch NCIS.
There is another important bit of news that is going along with this renewal! CBS is eager to expand the franchise once more, and because of that they have greenlit NCIS: Topeka, a spin-off set amidst the beautiful, flat backdrop of Kansas. When a farmer trips and falls into the Kansas River, the NCIS: Topeka team is there to make sure there are no bumps or bruises … and to find out if there is any foul play involved. (Maybe a fellow farmer tripped him in; competition is getting fierce these days in Kansas…) Sure, Topeka is thousands of miles away from the ocean, but who said that the Navy has to only rely on the ocean? There are many of small lakes worthy of surveying — plus, at the end of some episodes, the team can head over to Kansas City for some barbecue!
The NCIS: Topeka cast is going to star many of your NCIS favorites including Mark Harmon, Maria Bello, and Wilmer Valderrama, who are all playing completely new characters. Be prepared to see Harmon don a blonde wig to play Bethro Meroy Tibbs, the local man responsible for the unit. Valderrama, meanwhile, will play mild-mannered, by-the-book agent Rick Borres. The cast is reportedly excited for the challenge to play other characters within the NCIS universe — after seeing many guest actors playing different roles across separate shows, there was a real “why not us?” feeling on the flagship NCIS set. They are ready for the challenge of playing new characters and spending a good nine to ten months a year filming in the heartland instead of Los Angeles.
As for what these departures mean for the next 24 seasons of NCIS, rest assured CBS has a solution — in the wake of his Jimmy Palmer getting a promotion on the show, Brian Dietzen is now going to play every character. Be prepared for his gruff take on Gibbs, and for him to play an epic will-they-or-won’t-they romance with himself as variations of Bishop and Torres. Is Ziva alive? That’s the hope based on the recent episode “She,” and it looks like NCIS is planning to address that throughout the next few years with Dietzen offering up a nuanced performance of the one-time agent, back from the dead.
A change in the NCIS schedule
There is a downside to all of these epic changes — following this current season of NCIS, it’s going to take a while for most of the cast to move to Kansas while Dietzen starts filming his multiple roles and working 15 hours a day. NCIS season 17 is now slated to premiere on April 1, 2020, with future seasons likely starting on the same day. In case you’re wondering “wait, NCIS is moving to Mondays,” the answer is yes. The new Topeka-based spin-off is now set for the Tuesdays-at-8:00 timeslot — that’s how much CBS believes in it.
Here’s another bit of bad news on the flagship show — with Dietzen playing every single role, it’s obviously going to take a little bit longer to film every episode. Expect future NCIS seasons to only run for about six episodes each, but also expect CBS to make a hard Emmy push for him in the lead, supporting, and guest actor categories.
Obviously, the moment we have more news on all of these epic additions to the NCIS franchise, we’ll have it for you here. (Photo: CBS.)