Why Michael Weatherly Thought ‘NCIS’ Would Need a ‘Wentworth Miller-Type’ Guy Back in the Day
Though Michael Weatherly is now the leading man in the CBS original Bull, the actor’s fans will always remember him as Special Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS. For over a decade, he played second-in-command to Mark Harmon’s Agent Gibbs and boasted a slow-boiling romance with Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David.
Michael Weatherly was part of the cast that came to define the procedural — the original members who will always be the secret to the show’s early success. However, could you imagine if another character was in NCIS way back when? What about Prison Break star Wentworth Miller? According to Michael Weatherly, a Wentworth Miller-type actor could have been what the show needed in its early days. Let’s break down what Weatherly said, and how he explained his reasoning.
Michael Weatherly talks ‘NCIS’ and viewership demographics
A while back, during an interview with The Futon Critics, Michael Weatherly discussed the show’s appeal, and how NCIS came to claim demographics outside its original viewership. While NCIS was a Jag spinoff that initially attracted the 50-65-year-old demographic, its humor and character focus began to attract a younger adolescent demographic across time. Weatherly explained:
Because I think we’ve strip-mined everyone from 50 to 65. [Laughs.] I think we’ve found every single one. I don’t think we have to sell to them anymore. It would be a disservice to push ourselves into that.
And I also think that strangely, kids, 14, 15-year-old kids, this is exactly the age that I was watching ‘Magnum, P.I.’ and completely enjoying the kind of silly banter, like “is that how grown-ups talk?…the curiosity from teenage eyeballs would be, “I don’t really understand the plot so it must be adult and confusing.”The Futon Critic
And though Michael Weatherly realized the show’s potential to appeal to a diverse group of viewers, he noted one of the most difficult demographics to crack — women aged 18-34, and he explained that they would be the “last one” to sign on.
Michael Weatherly on what a Wentworth Miller-type actor could have brought to ‘NCIS’
Michael Weatherly joked that women aged 18-34 would join the show when American Idol went off the air, and when the necessary casting took place. He stated:
And then the last one that we’ll get is women between the ages of 18-34, that will be the very last, that’s the hardest one to crack. And I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I think we have to wait for ‘American Idol’ to go off the air before that actually happens.
Oh, and we’ll also have to hire an incredibly attractive 23-year-old like Wentworth Miller-type guy. And have him in jeopardy each week with his shirt off. [Laughs.] I’ll be 45 or something, I dunno at that point and we’ll be in the squad room going, “Is that guy naked and chained to a serial killer again!” [Laughs.] “Not another babe in jeopardy!”The Futon Critic
Michael Weatherly is a bit of a jokester, so it goes without saying that he may not have genuinely supported this idea as the end-all-be-all best way to attract a demographic the show struggled to bring on initially. However, not many would have complained if Wentworth Miller joined the show, as he has proved himself quite adept at action-oriented dramas.