CBS has announced a 16th season renewal for their mega-hit series NCIS and a new deal for series start and executive producer Mark Harmon. The deal to keep Agent Leroy “Jethro” Gibbs in house comes as another original cast member, Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto, is hanging up her lab coat for the final time after 15 years. She will be leaving in the penultimate episode of the season airing Tuesday, May 8th.
In a statement, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said:
It’s pretty simple – viewers everywhere love NCIS. This show speaks to viewers of all ages, in all parts of the country and around the world. NCIS‘ amazing characters and terrific storytelling result in some of TV’s most passionate fans. Of course, none of this would be possible without an outstanding production team, and talented cast led by the incomparable and absolutely tireless Mark Harmon. We’re thrilled he is returning as the centerpiece of the show, and we could not be more excited for NCIS 16th season.
NCIS averages 13.3 million total viewers and pulls in a 1.4 demo rating on the overnight numbers, making it the networks top drama. Harmon and David McCallum will be the only two actors left from the series pilot which airs September 23rd, 2003 as a spinoff of JAG. Though Harmon is still the lead, McCallum has been appearing less frequently over the last couple seasons.