CBS is prepping for a potential third NCIS series.
The network has set a two-part episode slated 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.
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 this 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 a backdoor pilot NCIS: Red, a potential spinoff of NCIS: LA, which did not move forward to series.
The news comes as NCIS heads into its 11th season, which will see the exit of long-time 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 its most 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 AMC developing a Breaking Bad offshoot.
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