‘NCIS’: Michael Weatherly Said the Show’s Popularity Was ‘Daunting’

NCIS star Michael Weatherly has enjoyed a successful acting career. The popularity of NCIS helped bolster his career as well as the career of many of his co-stars. However, fame hasn’t always been so sweet for Weatherly. Here’s why Weatherly said the show’s popularity was daunting.

Why Michael Weatherly left NCIS

Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and David McCallum | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and David McCallum | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Weatherly first appeared on NCIS in 2003. He made his final appearance on the show in 2016. The actor appeared in a total of 306 NCIS episodes. A big question many fans have is why Weatherly left a top series. Weatherly first contemplated leaving NCIS after actress Cote de Pablo decided to leave, reports Parade magazine. However, he said he wanted to make sure he didn’t leave abruptly like Cote de Pablo did. He put a lot of thought into the timing of his departure. “The key for me was to make sure that these guys had enough time,” said Weatherly. “I love Tony DiNozzo, but more importantly, I love NCIS. I’m just a fan of the show. That’s always a priority, so I think his departure has to serve that primarily,” he told Parade.

Why Michael Weatherly said the popularity of NCIS was daunting

Michael Weatherly on set of NCIS |  Jace Downs/CBS via Getty Images
Michael Weatherly on set of NCIS | Jace Downs/CBS via Getty Images

During an interview on her talk show, Ellen DeGeneres congratulated Weatherly for being part of such a successful show. She noted the series has been on for many years and that it has grown in popularity. However, Weatherly seemed hesitant to bask in his success. He explained that the exposure made him somewhat self-conscious.

It’s daunting because we air in syndication now on the USA network, thankfully, because that is gonna pay for my daughter’s education. But these episodes air back-to-back sometimes. You got 2003 against 2012. I am not the same dude. Nine years later, it almost looks like I have been recast. [Years later], it’s like, ‘Oh, they hired that heavier, older guy.’

Michael Weatherly feels he should have left NCIS sooner

Most NCIS fans would disagree, but Weatherly believes he stayed with the show much longer than he should have. He said he was enjoying his time so much, he didn’t realize it was time for him to move on and explore other career opportunities. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the host asked Weatherly why he didn’t decide just to continue playing Tony DiNozzo forever. The actor responded, “The character had to leave at some point.” Weatherly said he should have signed off years ago. “I should have left years ago, but I was having so much fun I overstayed my welcome, like that guest who won’t leave and keeps digging into your fridge.”

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Michael Weatherly Net Worth and How He Makes His Money

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