‘NCIS’ Executive Producer Says He Has Been ‘Threatening to Leave’ for Years

An executive producer of ‘NCIS’ for years discussed why he ‘threatened’ to quit the show. Here’s his explanation.

NCIS fans eagerly await updates regarding season 21. While the Writers Guild of America strike paused the new season, writers are back in action to continue the story. However, one executive producer admits that he’s been “threatening to leave” the series for years. Here’s why.

Executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson says he was ‘threatening to leave’ ‘NCIS’ for years

NCIS has had numerous creators through the years, and executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson admitted that he was “threatening to leave” the series for years.

“I have been threatening to leave the show for a couple of years myself,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of people, including me, got force majeure’d this year, so my contract is ended. Everybody’s concerned about budgets and all this crazy stuff, so I may be just one of the casualties since I’ve been threatening to leave. So, I’m just waiting to see. Once they do finally decide to find a solution [to the strikes], I think the landscape is going to change a lot.”

With the end of the WGA strike, writers were back to it with NCIS Season 21. The new season will likely air in 2024, though it’s unclear exactly when fans will see a return to the series. While Johnson predicted a changing landscape post-strike, NCIS fans remain excited about what’s to come.

“I sometimes fondly refer to NCIS as chocolate cake,” executive producer Mark Horowitz added. “Everybody knows what chocolate cake tastes like, but you still want the chocolate cake.”

He thought co-creator Don Bellisario was going to be with ‘NCIS’ ‘forever’

NCIS co-creator Don Bellisario helped make the show what it is today. However, conflicts with Mark Harmon led to Bellisario’s exit. Executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson said he never anticipated Bellisario’s departure from the series.

“We thought Don was going to be there forever,” Johnson said in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “It was traumatic. I can’t talk about an oral history with me without saying that so much of my work over the year was with him and with his shows. I think I ended up doing four or five of his shows and long runs. So, when he left, it was pretty traumatic because it was like, well, the creator’s gone and the visionary is gone, because a lot of that was his vision.”

Despite Bellisario’s “traumatic” exit, Johnson knew that the rest of the crew had to move forward with the “road mark” Bellisario gave them. “There were lots of things he created in those first four or four and a half years that he kept as our guideline, and we just built on them.”

Charles Floyd Johnson thought Mark Harmon leaving the show would be a ‘death knell’

Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo wearing 'NCIS' hats and uniforms
Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo in ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
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While NCIS executive producer found Don Bellisario’s departure “traumatic,” he also thought that Mark Harmon’s departure would kill the series. Harmon played the beloved Leroy Jethro Gibbs for 18 seasons.

“We thought [Harmon leaving] was the death knell,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter. “Coming in at 6:30 a.m., five days a week, and being the major character that was the linchpin — that’s pretty tough, and he did it for 18 seasons.”

Ultimately, Harmon wanted to spend more time with his wife and kids as he aged. “But he was so loyal to that crew and so supportive of the show,” Johnson added. “He was very proud of it, and he stayed on longer than he even intended.”

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