One of CBS’ longest-running scripted shows, NCIS: Los Angeles, will be coming to an end after 322 episodes. Its current 14th season will be the show’s last, with the series finale set for May 14, airing on the network and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.
The NCIS spinoff, starring LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell, is tied as the fifth longest-running CBS primetime scripted series ever, only behind Gunsmoke, Lassie, CSI and Criminal Minds. Among the four, the two shows that have aired in the last 50 years, CSI and Criminal Minds, both have since been revived, which bodes well for NCIS: Los Angeles‘ future.
Additionally, NCIS: Los Angeles is a rare long-running procedural drama to have had its original leads, LL Cool J and O’Donnell, stay on for the entire run. Both have spoken publicly about their commitment to the series, which hit the 300 episode milestone last May, and their fellow cast members.
According to sources, the cast and crew of NCIS: Los Angeles are being told today about the series coming to an end. A cancellation of a long-running drama with big-name leads filming in L.A. should not come as a shock given the big price tag involved, especially at a time when networks across the board are looking to cut their spending. Still, I hear the cancellation news came as somewhat of a surprise to many associated with the show as it follows the strong ratings for the three-way crossover with mothership NCIS and latest offshoot NCIS: Hawai’i.
“This NCIS Crossover was a huge success!!”, LL Cool J wrote on Instagram. “After 14 seasons, this is the perfect time to end @ncisla on top of our game!!!”
I hear the timing of the decision stems from the network’s desire to allow showrunner R. Scott Gemmill and his team to craft a series finale, which they will have to jump on right away to get it ready for May. In a statement (you can read it in full later in the story), Gemmill promised fans an ending that “is both satisfying and does justice to these beloved characters.”
NCIS: Los Angeles was the first spinoff from NCIS, now in its 20th season. It was followed by NCIS: New Orleans, which ran for seven seasons, and NCIS: Hawai’i, now in its second season.
Boosted by being part of the NCIS franchise, NCIS: Los Angeles set a record for the quickest off-network syndication sale in fall 2009 when it was nabbed by USA Network for a massive $2.2M-$2.3M an episode just 6-7 weeks into its run. The series has remained a money maker for producer CBS Studios with distribution in more than 200 countries.
“For 14 seasons, NCIS: Los Angeles has been a stalwart of our lineup with characters who were a joy to watch,” said Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment. “From day one, the cast, producers and crew were amazing network/studio partners, and their teamwork, talent and spirit vividly came through on the screen. We are so grateful for the collaboration and remarkable run of these treasured members of our CBS family, and plan to give them the big sendoff they and their fans deserve.”
Unlike the mothership NCIS series, which stayed in its original Tuesday time slot for almost two decades until recently relocating to Monday, NCIS: Los Angeles has been a classic utility player for CBS, moving seven times in 14 seasons and helping reestablish a beachfront for the network with scripted series on Sunday.
The series, created by Shane Brennan, is averaging 6.06 million viewers and is the top scripted program in its Sunday 10 PM slot. Season to date, new episodes have amassed more than 591 million potential social media impressions and Americans have watched over 4.2 billion minutes (through Jan. 15) of the current season.
“I want to thank both the network and studio for their partnership and support over the years; Shane Brennan for giving us such a great playground; and my partners John P. Kousakis, Frank Military, Kyle Harimoto and Andrew Bartels for their tireless efforts and collaboration episode after episode,” said NCIS: Los Angeles executive producer and showrunner Gemmill. “Our crew has grown to be a true family, and their hard work and dedication has been fundamental to our success year after year. My deepest gratitude to the cast members, who have brought our characters to life with their impassioned performances – thank you for your talent, professionalism and continuous enthusiasm. And to our loyal viewers who loved our characters and followed their journeys, thank you. We look forward to delivering an end to the series that is both satisfying and does justice to these beloved characters.”
NCIS: Los Angeles is a drama about the high-stakes world of a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals who pose a threat to the nation’s security. Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Linda Hunt, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, Medalion Rahimi, Caleb Castille and Gerald McRaney star. R. Scott Gemmill, John P. Kousakis, Frank Military, Kyle Harimoto, Andrew Bartels and Shane Brennan, who created the series, all serve as executive producers. NCIS: Los Angeles is produced by CBS Studios.