‘NCIS’ Season 18 Is Officially Underway! When Can Fans Expect a Premiere Date?

NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) has given fans hope and a reason to celebrate. After a six-month industry shutdown due to COVID-19, many TV shows have started to get back to work. According to Valderrama’s Instagram, NCIS is now officially one of the few network shows in production after an abrupt shutdown in March brought season 17 to an unexpected close.

NCIS season 18
The cast of ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Season 17 of ‘NCIS’ was four episodes short

NCIS is one of the longest-running dramas in CBS history. Due to the pandemic, season 17 was only 20 episodes. This is because they shut down production four episodes shy of a full season. This was the first time since the writer’s strike in 2008 that a season of NCIS didn’t include 24 episodes.

Because the cast and crew shoot the series in California, they have been on hold for months. As Express notes, the state has had one of the strictest responses to the coronavirus outbreak. Almost everything in the state has been closed since March.

The last new episode of NCIS to air on CBS was on April 14. For months, the cast and crew waited for the go ahead from the network to get back to work. Now that safety precautions are in place on set, it appears that day has come. On Saturday, September 5, Valderrama posted the first table read for season 18.

The ‘NCIS’ cast did not meet on set for the table read

Fans immediately noticed in Valderrama’s post that the NCIS cast and showrunner gathered for a virtual table read via Zoom. Still, fans are excited to see Mark Harmon (Leroy Gibbs) and company back together.

It gave them hope that season 18 production will begin soon. And, they could see a season premiere as soon as November. In order for the NCIS team to go back to work, the series had to take massive safety precautions. These include regular COVID testing, social distancing, and improved sanitation.

RELATED: ‘NCIS’: Everything We Know About a Season 18 Premiere Date, Plus When Will Maria Bello Make Her Exit?

Other faces in Valderrama’s post included Sean Murray (Timothy McGee), Emily Wickersham (Eleanor Bishop), Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hines), David McCallum (Ducky Mallard), and showrunner Steven D. Binder.

“After 6 months of our industry shut down…the first table read to #NCIS’s season 18 feels like the beginning of a road to progression, as we get closer to bringing our show back to your homes,” Valderrama wrote in the caption.

What can fans expect in season 18?

CBS has not yet announced a premiere date for season 18 of NCIS. Traditionally, there is about a two-month lag between an episode’s production week and air date.

The network has already released its schedule for September and October. NCIS’s Tuesday night timeslot won’t be available on November 3 due to the presidential election. This leaves November 10 as the earliest possible date for the premiere.

NCIS showrunners have promised that the story will pick up right where it left off in season 17. Fans are ready for a romance to blossom between Nick Torres and Eleanor Bishop. There is also mystery surrounding Maria Bello’s (Jack Sloane) exit. She is reportedly filming eight episodes before she departs. Bello was not part of Vilderrama’s post.

Season 18 will also feature the 400th episode of NCIS. It will reportedly feature a time jump back to when Gibbs and Ducky first became friends.

Season 17 of NCIS is available for streaming on CBS All Access.