‘NCIS’ Announced a Major Move Ahead of the Season 18 Finale

NCIS has been a CBS prime time staple for 18 seasons, and the series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But just ahead of the season finale, the network has made a major announcement about the future of the long-running procedural.

Nick Torres eats dinner with Gibbs on 'NCIS'
Wilmer Valderrama and Mark Harmon on ‘NCIS’ | Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

The ‘NCIS’ season 18 finale promo shocked fans

For a few seasons now, there’s been a slow build of “will they/won’t they” tension between Agent Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama). In the promo for the season 18 finale, it appears fans will finally get the moment they’ve been waiting for.

For a brief, shocking moment in the 20-second teaser for the episode titled “Rule 91,” Ellie and Nick are seen sharing a kiss. While this has caused some major excitement among the NCIS fandom online, some are fearful that this could be a kiss goodbye.

Is Mark Harmon only coming back part-time?

For the better part of season 18, rumors swirled that Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was ready to leave NCIS. As one of the original cast members, Harmon has starred on the series since 2003.

In late April, CBS announced that they had officially renewed NCIS for season 19. It was also revealed that Harmon would be returning. But it’s still not clear if he will remain a full-time cast member.

Or, if he will opt for a reduced, part-time role like his OG co-star Dr. Ducky Mallard (David McCallum).

According to CBS Entertainment boss Kelly Kahl, they aren’t sure either just how many episodes Harmon will be a part of in season 19.

“We take it year by year with Mark, we’d love to have him as long as he’d like to be here,” he told Deadline. “Even in this past season, he might have been light in a couple of [episodes], so we’re happy to work around his schedule.”

‘NCIS’ is leaving the time slot it’s had for nearly two decades

When NCIS does return to CBS this fall for season 19, fans who are expecting to see it in it’s usual Tuesday night time slot won’t be able to find it.

According to Hello!, CBS has moved NCIS from its normal Tuesday night 8:00 pm (EST) slot to Monday night at 8:00 pm (EST). In its new time slot, NCIS will be the lead-in for its latest spinoff, NCIS: Hawai’i starring Vanessa Lachey.

RELATED: ‘NCIS’ Season 18: Wilmer Valderrama Promises a ‘Major, Major Season Finale’

The reason for the move from Tuesday to Monday is because CBS is doing some rebranding. They are making Tuesday night an all-FBI lineup.

Which means FBI will now air on Tuesday at 8:00 pm (EST), followed by newcomer FBI: International at 9:00 pm (EST). They will finish up the night with FBI: Most Wanted at 10:00 pm (EST).

Franchise nights are ratings gold for the broadcast networks

This Tuesday night rebrand for CBS comes two years after NBC put their One Chicago franchise on Wednesday nights.

Since NBC moved Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med to Wednesdays, they’ve dominated the ratings. As Kahl notes these franchises really do work.

“If you look at the proof of what does work, these franchises work. And they work on a multitude of levels. They generally get pretty darn good live ratings, they get good delayed viewing, and they stream pretty well. That’s a win-win-win,” Kahl explained.

A lot of changes are happening in the ‘NCIS’ universe

In addition to moving the parent series to Monday nights and adding the spinoff NCIS: Hawai’i, there are even more changes coming to the NCIS universe this fall. CBS has canceled New Orleans after seven seasons, and the network just aired the final episode.

However, Los Angeles will be back for season 13. And, it’s the only series in the NCIS universe to stay put in the time slot fans are familiar with— Sunday nights at 8:00 pm.

The season 18 finale of NCIS airs Tuesday, May 25 on CBS.