Why NCIS Will Have a Shorter Season Than Normal

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Why NCIS Will Have a Shorter Season Than Normal

By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer

CBS will chop NCIS’s standard 24 episodes to 16 episodes this fall due to the coronavirus. NCIS isn’t the only show getting that treatment. 

As CBS prepares the launch of its scripted dramas and comedies, the network solidified the episode counts, which will run through the end of the 2020-21 broadcast season in May. These scripted series cost more per episode to shoot. The shorter seasons mean the network is shelling out less money. 

After the fall shows wrap, CBS will release their summer schedule. The summer lineup will include unscripted shows that are easier and cheaper to make amidst endemic related restrictions.  

While dramas NCIS and NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, along with BLUE BLOODS, BULL, MAGNUM P.I., and SEAL TEAM, will each run for 16 episodes, and NCIS: LOS ANGELES is slated for 18 episodes.

In May, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl hoped for a full season of each series.

“We may find that they simply run out of time and for some shows, it might mean 20 vs. 22, depending on when they start.  Our hope is for full seasons of all of these shows. We’ve spoken to them and all understand there may be limitations to what can be accomplished this season,” Kahl said at the time. 

Kahl’s predictions were correct as CBS decided to shorten the seasons to avoid the summer months, which regularly sees a drop in network viewership.  

Movieguide previously reported

As production gradually increases amidst the pandemic, the shows featured in CBS’s November lineup are ahead regarding production, with many episodes already completed.  

Among the returning shows is the 18th season of NCIS, set to debut Tuesday, Nov. 17. 

Many of NCIS’s episodes contain strong moral content with themes of patriotism, redemption and sacrifice. 


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The 2020-2021 Primetime Schedule will have #NCIS back on Tuesdays at 8/7c!

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