EXCLUSIVE: CBS is looking to further expand its lucrative NCIS franchise. I’ve learned that the network is working on a planted NCIS spinoff series, which will be introduced in a two-part NCIS episode slated to shoot in February and air in the spring. Set in New Orleans, the potential spinoff is executive produced by NCIS star/executive producer Mark Harmon and executive producer/showrunner Gary Glasberg. The character-driven project, written by Glasberg and produced by CBS Studios, centers on the NCIS New Orleans office which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle. New Orleans was picked as a backdrop for the show because of its pedigree of a rich setting of music, fun and debauchery that makes it a magnet for military personnel on-leave. And with fun comes trouble. This would mark the second spinoff from veteran NCIS, which also spawned hit NCIS: Los Angeles. The LL Cool J-Chris O’Donnell starrer also started off as a backdoor pilot, airing as a two-part episode of NCIS. In expanding the NCIS franchise, CBS and CBS Studios are taking a page from their CSI playbook by setting every new series in a new town (Las Vegas, Miami and New York for CSI; Washington, Los Angeles and New Orleans for NCIS). With NCIS and NCIS: LA showing no signs of slowing down, …
UPDATE: CBS just confirmed Mark Harmon‘s new contract extension and announced that NCIS has been officially renewed for next season. ”In a world gone niche, NCIS keeps getting bigger, and Mark Harmon continues to define the role of leading man on the #1 show on television,” said CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. “NCIS is the type of franchise every company wants in today’s global content ecosystem — high-quality storytelling that generates passionate viewers and drives revenue on every conceivable platform.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: CBS has secured the future of its top-rated drama. Mark Harmon, star of the network’s NCIS, has signed a new multiyear deal to continue on the veteran series. With him on board, NCIS‘s renewal for an 11th season becomes a pure formality and an early pickup is expected. Just like they did with Harmon’s previous deal two years ago, the actor, CBS and NCIS producer CBS TV Studios wrapped negotiations early, with this year’s pact signed within a day of the one in 2011, which was announced on February 2 that year.
Details about Harmon’s deal are being kept under wraps. I hear it is likely for two years and gives him a healthy raise over the most recent salary of more than $500,000 an episode, possibly over $700,000 an episode. In addition to starring, Harmon, repped by Paradigm and attorney Barry Axelrod, serves as an executive producer/profit participant on NCIS and has a production deal with CBS TV Studios for his company Wings Prods.
The CW today gave the green light to three more drama pilots: J.J. Abrams and Mark Schwahn’s Shelter; Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain’s The Selection; and Bert Royal’s Joey Dakota, which has Mark Harmon executive producing. That brings the total number of hourlong pilots picked up at the CW this year to eight, which is at the high end of projections and a record for the 6-year-old network. The CW also re-entered the comedy arena this development season with several scripts. Word is that the network still may order 1-2 half-hour pilots, but they will likely be off-cycle.
Shelter, written by One Tree Hill creator/showrunner Schwahn and produced by Warner Bros TV, is set at a historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries and romances of their own. WME-repped Abrams and Schwahn are executive producing through their companies Bad Robot and Mastermind Laboratories, along with Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk. This marks Abrams’ first project at the CW. It reunites him with CW president Mark Pedowitz and EVP Development Thom Sherman, who worked with him at ABC and ABC Studios. Most recently, Pedowitz was president of ABC Studios, where Abrams was under an overall deal before moving to WBTV in 2006, and Sherman ran Abrams’ production company Bad Robot for two years before joining …
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
NCIS executive producer Gary Glasberg said after today’s TCA panel that actor Muse Watson would be among those returning to the long-running series for its 200th episode airing February 7. Watson portrays retired special agent Mike Frank, Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) mentor. Glasberg was coy about whether other guest stars would return but confirmed that Lauren Holly will not. He said, “Just watch the show, there will be surprises.” During the panel, Glasberg elaborated on that 200th episode, “Life Before His Eyes,” which concerns a “pivotal moment that Gibbs faces” and will look back at key moments throughout the 9 years the show has been on the air. He also said the episode would bring back “familiar faces, old faces.” Glasberg and cast members including Harmon also did not say how long the show could run. Asked whether the show could run as long as Gunsmoke, Harmon joked: “I like the idea of riding a horse, if we’re gonna do that. Tomorrow we go to work.” On the 200th episode, he said: “We had a cake, and there were speeches, and we went back to work.”
EXCLUSIVE: The CW has bought Danny Hollywood, an hourlong project based on the successful Israeli half-hour series of the same name. Easy A writer Bert V Royal is writing the adaptation and is executive producing with Mark Harmon, Eric & Kim Tannenbaum and Martha Haight for CBS TV Studios. In the time travel fantasy-musical, a young documentary filmmaker travels back in time in order to prevent the death of her ’90s musical idol Danny Hollywood, and finds that the story is even more complicated than she thought. In the original, created and produced by Tmira Yardeni and Ori Gross, the 21st century documentary filmmaker travels back to 1968. The series aired 200 episodes on Yes Stars channel, more than tripping the channel’s average viewership over its run and garnering a 12% market share — six times the channel average — for its finale. (You can watch a trailer here.) Danny Hollywood is distributed internationally by Armoza Formats, whose game show format Still Standing became NBC’s new series Who’s Still Standing?, which premieres December 19.
The film is based on the best-selling Prey series of novels by John Sandford. Harmon will play the central character in the books, Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Lucas Davenport. The movie is based on the 10th of the 20 novels in the series, Certain Prey, in which Davenport goes against a lethal hit woman and a ferociously cunning killer determined to hunt him down. Chris Gerolmo (Citizen X) penned the script for the movie, which is slated to begin production in May. Jaffe-Braunstein Films is producing, with Michael Jaffe, Howard Braunstein and Harmon executive producing. “Mark Harmon could read the phone book and we’d probably want to put it on the air!” USA’s president original programming Jeff Wachtel quipped.
While Prey is being done as a one-off, with with 19 other books in the series, it could potentially turn into a movie franchise in the mold of Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone series of films on CBS. Prey is the second original movie USA has greenlighted in the past six months after largely staying away from the genre for the past five years. The other movie, the Burn Notice prequel Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, premieres on …
The day, which started great for NCIS, just got even better. Hours after the veteran CBS drama set a new series record in total viewers, 22.9 million, its star Mark Harmon signed a new two-year deal to continue on the hit show. And with him on board, NCIS has been renewed for a ninth season, the first CBS drama to get a pickup for next fall. “It’s simply amazing that a show in its eighth season continues to perform at such an elite level,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said.
I hear Harmon’s new deal with NCIS producer CBS TV Studios will pay the star more than $500,000 an episode, which is in the range former CSI star William Petersen was at the same point of the veteran forensic drama. And just like Petersen on CSI, Harmon is being upped from producer to an executive producer on NCIS next season. Additionally, he has signed a production deal with CBS TV Studios for his company Wings Prods. which will be housed on the CBS lot. The setup is similar to the deal CSI‘s new star Laurence Fishburne inked last spring.
The deal for Harmon came ahead of schedule unlike the contract negotiations with NCIS co-stars Sean Murray, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum last year, which dragged well into the summer before all 4 closed new two-year pacts to continue on the hit series. With Harmon now set, Cote de …