‘NCIS’: Moving to Monday Is Not the Only Major Move TV’s ‘Most-Watched Drama’ Is Making For Season 19
NCIS will look a whole lot different in season 19. TV’s “most-watched drama” had a cast shake-up during the hiatus, and CBS has announced they are moving the series to a new night. But that’s not the only major move that NCIS is making for the upcoming season.
The ‘NCIS’ season 19 promotional push has begun
CBS started their promotional push for NCIS season 19 in early September with the release of a 30-second teaser. The clip teased the season premiere titled “Blood in the Water,” which will pick up where the season 18 cliffhanger left off — the explosion of Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) boat Rule 91.
The network has also released the episode’s official description, which reads, “As the NCIS team searches for Gibbs after wreckage from his boat is discovered, they find out he was tracking a serial killer with journalist Marcie Warren (Pam Dawber), who wrote an exposé on him.”
Gibbs is front and center in the new promotional poster
After dropping the teaser, CBS released a promotional poster for season 19 that featured the new NCIS cast. The image featured Gibbs sitting front and center in the show’s famous diner — ahead of the entire team.
The poster features Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), McGee (Sean Murray), Jessica Knight (new series regular Katrina Law), Vance (Rocky Carroll), Alden Park (new series regular Gary Cole), Cassie Hines (Diona Reasonover), Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), and Dr. Ducky Mallard (David McCallum).
Considering the slew of reports in recent months claiming Harmon will have a reduced role in season 19, his prominence in the poster came as a bit of a surprise.
When asked about the “message” that the poster was trying to send, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told TV Line, “We’re highlighting our cast in an interesting and fun and provocative way. That’s all it’s trying to say.”
The poster touts another major move for ‘NCIS’ for season 19
After 18 seasons and more than 400 episodes, NCIS is moving from Tuesday to Monday nights. CBS decided to make this major change to their primetime lineup for the 2021-2022 TV season so they could make Tuesdays an all-FBI night.
FBI will be taking the spot NCIS has held since 2003 — Tuesday nights at 8 PM (Eastern). It will be followed by FBI: International at 9 PM and FBI: Most Wanted at 10 PM.
But the switch to Monday nights isn’t the only major move that NCIS is making. As the new promotional poster announces, NCIS will also be changing time slots. Instead of kicking off Monday night’s primetime lineup at 8 PM (Eastern), it will be airing one hour later at 9 PM.
The new lead-in for ‘NCIS: Hawai’i’
The new time slot means that NCIS will bridge a block of sitcoms — The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola — and the newest series in the NCIS universe, NCIS: Hawai’i, on Monday nights. Kahl knows this is a major gamble for the network, but they are hoping this scheduling strategy will improve their Monday night numbers.
“We hope to improve the [Monday] time period significantly, and we hope that it can be a strong lead-in to help launch NCIS: Hawai’i…. We realize that we can’t take [the time slot change] for granted, we have to help educate people and let them know where it’s moving to,” Kahl said.
‘NCIS’ is going back to a familiar formula for season 19
Season 18 ended with Gibbs swimming away from his boat’s fiery explosion. As showrunner Steven D. Binder notes, “we know he’s not dead right there, and we know he’s able to swim well enough. All things are possible with Gibbs.”
Harmon might have a reduced role, but that’s not a guarantee. Kahl made it clear that he’s “always been part of the show” and is “always going to be a part of the show.” But the CBS boss also said that when it comes to Harmon’s on-air appearances, they would “have to see how it plays out going forward.”
Binder did confirm, however, that Gibbs’ suspension arc will soon come to a close. And when it does, they are going back to a familiar formula that fans know well.
“One of the things we said to ourselves was let’s get back to some interesting cases without any overarching arcs,” Binder shared. “I think it’s time for us to sort of regroup and get back to telling good mysteries of the week with interesting characters, interesting stories and emotional hooks, and a satisfying ending.”
NCIS season 19 premieres Monday, Sept. 20 at 9:00 PM (eastern) on CBS.