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NCIS was originally referred to as Navy NCIS during season one; "Navy" was later dropped from the title as it was redundant (the "N" in "NCIS" stands for "Naval"). In season six, a two-part episode led to a spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles. A two-part episode during the eleventh season led to a second spin-off series, NCIS: New Orleans. While initially slow in the ratings, barely cracking the Top 30 in the first two seasons, the third season showed progress, consistently ranking in the top 20, and by its sixth season, it became a top five hit, having remained there since. In 2011, NCIS was voted America's favorite television show in an online Harris Poll. The series finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012-13 TV season. On April 13, 2018, NCIS was renewed for a sixteenth season, that premiered on September 25, 2018.Diona Reasonover joined the main cast in Season 16, following the departures of Duane Henry and Pauley Perrette.
Prior to the launch of the first season, advertisements on CBS identified the show as "Naval CIS". By the time of the launch of the first episode, NCIS was airing under the name Navy NCIS, the name it held for the entire first season. Since the "N" in NCIS stands for "Naval", the name "Navy NCIS" was redundant. The decision to use this name was reportedly made by CBS, over the objections of Bellisario, to:
Attract new viewers (particularly those of JAG), who might not know the NCIS abbreviation
Distinguish between NCIS and the similarly themed and similarly spelled CBS series CSI and its spinoffs. (The original title, for instance, was often misquoted and parodied as "Navy CSI", something the show itself referenced in the first episode.)
From the season-two episode "Lt. Jane Doe" onwards, the series began showing two-second-long black-and-white clips. These clips are shown at the beginning of every segment depicting the last two seconds of that segment, a segment being the five or six portions of the show meant to be separated by commercials. In the season-three premiere, "Kill Ari (Part I)", a freeze-frame shot was also used with the very end of most episodes turned into a freeze frame, as well.
It was reported in May 2007 that Donald Bellisario would be stepping down from the show. Due to a disagreement with series star Mark Harmon, Bellisario's duties as showrunner/head writer were to be given to long-time show collaborators, including co-executive producer Chas. Floyd Johnson and Shane Brennan, with Bellisario retaining his title as executive producer. In fall 2009,[clarification needed]Gary Glasberg joined the crew and became the new "day-to-day" runner of NCIS, as Shane Brennan had to focus on his new show, the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles. On September 28, 2016, Glasberg died in his sleep at the age of 68.
On April 5, 2016, long-time director Dennis Smith announced he had completed his final episode as part of the NCIS crew, though to which episode he was referring was not specified.
On April 13, 2018, the series was renewed for a sixteenth season which premiered on September 25, 2018.
Rocky Carroll recurs on NCIS: Los Angeles as his NCIS character Director Leon Vance, while Pauley Perrette has appeared twice as Abby, and Michael Weatherly has appeared once as Anthony DiNozzo. NCIS guest stars reprising roles between series include David Dayan Fisher as CIA Officer Trent Kort, in the season-one finale of NCIS: Los Angeles; Kelly Hu as Lee Wuan Kai in NCIS: Los Angeles and later in an episode of NCIS.
Rocky Carroll recurs as Director Leon Vance, while NCIS series regulars Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, David McCallum and Brian Dietzen have all appeared as their NCIS characters. NCIS recurring cast members Meredith Eaton, Joe Spano, Diane Neal, and Leslie Hope have all guest-starred on NCIS: New Orleans.
The first 11 seasons of NCIS have been released in Regions 1, 2, and 4. In Germany (Region 2), seasons 1-4 and 5-8 were released in two separate sets for each season. The first-season DVD omits the two introductory episodes from season eight of JAG, though they are featured on the JAG season-eight DVD.
In 2010, CBS Interactive and GameHouse released a mobile video game, NCIS: The Game for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and BREW/J2ME. The game features five different cases written by the show's writers.
On November 1, 2011, Ubisoft released a video game adaption of NCIS for the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. A Nintendo 3DS version was released on March 6, 2012. The video game was deemed as a mockery of the show by reviewers and players alike, and received a 2/10 rating on GameSpot.
CBS Records released the show's first soundtrack on February 10, 2009.The Official TV Soundtrack is a two-disc, 22-track set that includes brand new songs from top artists featured prominently in upcoming episodes of the series, as well as the show's original theme by Numeriklab (available commercially for the first time) and a remix of the theme by Ministry. The set also includes songs performed by series regulars Pauley Perrette and Coté de Pablo.
A sequel to the soundtrack was released on November 3, 2009. NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack; Vol. 2 is a single-disc, 12-track set that covers songs (many previously unreleased) featured throughout the seventh season of the show, including one recording titled "Bitter and Blue" by Weatherly, as well as two songs used in previous seasons.
Ever since season 7, NCIS has been the most watched scripted show on American television, but it was only in the 2012-13 season that it ranked number 1 as the most watched program of the past year, surpassing both American Idol and NBC Sunday Night Football that had ranked above it the past three seasons.
On January 15, 2013, NCIS surpassed its previous series high in viewers, with the season ten episode "Shiva" attracting 22.86 million viewers.
The show ranked number thirteen in DVR playback (2.743 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from February 9-15, 2009.
The show ranked number nine in DVR playback (3.007 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from April 6-12, 2009.
The show ranked number eighteen (4.793 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending January 25, 2009.
The show ranked number ten (4.535 million viewers), twelve (4.264 million viewers), thirteen (4.221 million viewers), fifteen (4,161 million viewers), seventeen (4.132 million viewers), and twenty (4.081 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending March 1, 2009.
The show ranked sixteen (4.091 million viewers), seventeen (4.084 million viewers), eighteen (4.072 million viewers), and twenty (4.006 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending March 29, 2009.
The show ranked number five (4.492 million viewers), six (4.467 million viewers), eight (4.394 million viewers), nine (4.214 million viewers), fifteen (3.962 million viewers), and seventeen (3.8.58 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top twenty most-watched cable shows for the week ending May 3, 2009.
The show ranked number three (4.82 million viewers), six (4.38 million viewers), ten (3.82 million viewers), eleven (3.88 million viewers), and fourteen (3.87 million viewers) in the list of Nielsen ratings top fifteen most-watched cable shows for the week ending November 1, 2009.
Following the show's official pick-up by CBS, it was confirmed that Louise Lombard had not been signed to continue her role as Special Agent Lara Macy. Linda Hunt and Adam Jamal Craig were confirmed to replace her in starring roles, playing OSP Manager Henrietta Lange and Special Agent Dom Vail respectively. Craig, who left the series in episode 21 of season 1, was replaced by Eric Christian Olsen playing Marty Deeks.
NCIS: Los Angeles was created by Shane Brennan. In April 2011, NCIS creator Donald Bellisario sued CBS over NCIS: Los Angeles because of his contract which gave him "first opportunity" to develop a spin-off or sequel, the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in June 2012. However, discussions continued between CBS and Bellisario and in January 2013 the dispute was settled outside of court a week before it was set to go to trial; the terms of the agreement were not disclosed but were described as being amicable.
NCIS: New Orleans
In September 2013 CBS announced a planned second spin-off series set in New Orleans that would be introduced via a planted two-part backdoor pilot NCIS episode. The episodes were filmed in February 2014 and aired on March 25, 2014, and April 1, 2014. NCIS star Mark Harmon and showrunner Gary Glasberg are the executive producers, and CBS Studios produces the series. "Crescent City", the two-part backdoor-pilot episode was initially "supposed to be just an idea for an episode". Glasberg discussed the idea of the episode with Harmon, who said "That's more than a[n] [...] episode". The premise for the episodes are, according to Glasberg, "all about this tiny little NCIS office that's down [in New Orleans], and the kind of cases that they come across".