Entering just about any season of a show like NCIS, the big assumption is that we’re going to get a solid dose of 24 episodes. It’s what we’ve had for the majority of its run with a couple of key exceptions. The writers’ strike back during the 2007-08 season limited production, and then obviously we’re still in the midst of the global health crisis now.
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What we would assume entering season 18, at least at the moment, is that we would have 24 episodes, including the ones that were written and planned for the end of season 17. We don’t think some monster 28-episode order is coming to make up for the four that we lost. In some ways, a 24-episode order itself is in question and could depend mightily on when filming is projecting to start.
One of the things that we’ve learned about production on network TV over the years is how much of a well-oiled machine it is. It ultimately has to be if you’re going to turn around two dozen episodes from July until early May. You have a very set schedule since that is the only way you can get stories done before the end of May sweeps. That’s an important time for networks ratings-wise and because of that, we can’t see episodes airing later than that.
With all of this in mind, we have a hard time seeing 24 episodes for NCIS season 18 unless production either begins in late summer, or they decide to extend filming well into 2021. Otherwise, the show is going to have to severely compress the schedule, and even with the most optimistic of views, it’s hard to imagine it working. The only reason a slightly-later start in August could still work is that we know that the first few episodes (a.k.a. the last ones from season 17) are already mapped out. Is anything possible in theory? Sure, but there’s only so much you can ask of production during this complicated time.
More so than episode count, the biggest thing to stress entering the new season is quality. Deliver stories that serve as a great reminder of what makes this show great, and what made us miss it so much. No matter when it premieres, this is probably going to be the biggest NCIS hiatus we’ve ever had. Even back during the writers’ strike, there was still a finale that aired in May.
How many episodes do you think we’ll get in NCIS season 18?
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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.