So what does this news mean for the future of the show? Why would CBS even bring the series back without their lead around much of the time?
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Well, the answer to the latter question is fairly simple: NCIS still performs for them. This show still averaged 9.5 million live viewers a week, and that’s without considering its streaming numbers or international performance — it’s one of the most-watched shows all over the world. The decision to keep NCIS on the air for more seasons is in part a financial one, given that it does produce so much revenue for CBS. It also employs hundreds of people and this season, the network is using it to help push their new NCIS: Hawaii spin-off show.
While we anticipate that the numbers will go down further without Harmon and in a new timeslot on Monday night, the jury’s still out on what the final impact will be. Gary Cole is in talks to come on board, and it’s possible NCIS can still be a solid hit. Could it get to a season 20 even with less Mark Harmon? Sure, but based on the love that fans have for Gibbs, the network better be prepared for an uphill battle.
If NCIS does end with season 19, CBS may still feel like it’s done its job: It stabilized their network for almost two decades, and in its swan song it helped a new show get on the map.
Do you think NCIS season 19 will be okay without much of Mark Harmon?
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This article was written by Jess Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.