EXCLUSIVE: Gibbs is returning to the NCIS universe as the lead of a new CBS show, which serves as a prequel to the long-running procedural. The network has given a straight-to-series order to NCIS: Origins, about young Leroy Jethro Gibbs, for the 2024-25 broadcast season. The project comes from the two actors who have portrayed Gibbs on NCIS, Mark Harmon and his son Sean Harmon, veteran NCIS writers-producers, Gina Lucita Monreal and David J. North, as well as CBS Studios, which is behind the NCIS franchise.

Narrated by Mark Harmon, NCIS: Origins begins in 1991, years prior to the events of NCIS, and follows a young Gibbs. In the series, Gibbs starts his career as a newly minted special agent at the fledgling NCIS Camp Pendleton office where he forges his place on a gritty, ragtag team led by NCIS legend Mike Franks. (On the mothership series, Franks has been a recurring character played by Muse Watson. Franks was fatally stabbed in Season 8 but continued to appear to Gibbs when he needed a sounding board on hard cases.)

The idea of exploring Gibbs’ early years originated with Sean Harmon, who recurred on NCIS, playing the younger version of Mark Harmon’s character in seven episodes from 2008-2020. Along with his father, who starred as Gibbs on NCIS for more than 18 seasons, Harmon approached Monreal, North and CBS Studios about expanding the NCIS universe with a Gibbs-centered offshoot.

Sean Harmon is focusing on executive producing duties for the new series alongside Mark Harmon, who continues to executive produce the flagship NCIS, as well as Monreal and North, who are co-writing the premiere episode and will serve as co-showrunners. North also will continue his duties as executive producer and co-showrunner (with Steven D Binder) on the main series. Search will be launched for an actor to play the lead in the new spinoff.

“The character of Gibbs has been an important part of my life for 20 years, both in watching my father craft the role and previously having the honor to play young Gibbs myself,” Sean Harmon said. “I always felt there was a tale worth telling about his earlier years, so I am thrilled to be stepping into a producing role alongside Gina, David and my dad as we tell this story and reveal a new side of this beloved character.”

Monreal and North, who said they are “thrilled to be bringing this new chapter to life along with Mark and Sean Harmon,” teased more revelations in the new series.

“This really is the making of Leroy Jethro Gibbs,” the duo said. “And even the most dedicated NCIS fans will discover that they don’t know the whole story.”

NCIS: Origins is taking a route that proved successful for another flagship CBS series, comedy The Big Bang Theory, which spawned a successful prequel, Young Sheldon, about the early years of one of the series’ lead characters.

“We are elated and honored to continue the expansion of the NCIS universe in such a unique and unexpected way,” said Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment. “Viewers can look forward to Mark Harmon returning to CBS to narrate the complex and mysterious backstory of Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ early years in NCIS: Origins, which will build on the rich legacy of this character while reintroducing fan-favorite characters and meeting new ones.”

NCIS is one of CBS Studios’ most valuable franchises. Twenty one seasons in — currently ranking as the third-longest-running U.S. primetime drama — the mothership series remains the most watched non-sports program on broadcast. A big global seller, which once ranked as the most watched drama in the world, the venerable procedural has spawned three spinoffs in the U.S., NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans as well as NCIS: Hawai’i, which is headed to its fourth season. The franchise recently went international with its first non-American offshoot, NCIS: Sydney, which also has done very well in the U.S. Used by CBS on its strike-impacted fall schedule, it has ranked as the most watched new series of the 2023-24 season to date.

According to Nielsen and internal data, during the 2022-2023 TV season, the NCIS franchise had over 300 million viewers around the world across all platforms including broadcast, cable, streaming and syndication.

“There’s no denying the cultural and global phenomenon of the NCIS franchise for the last 20 years,” said David Stapf, president of CBS Studios. “When Sean and Mark approached us all with this exciting expansion of the universe – exploring a young Gibbs – we knew it was the next story that needed to be told. We also couldn’t be luckier to have Gina and David at the helm as co-showrunners who are not only brilliant and adept writers but know this character and universe so well.”

NCIS: Origins reunites North and Monreal, who both wrote on NCIS for 10 years. Monreal, who left the CBS series a couple of years ago, has recently worked on Netflix’s Griselda, Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the upcoming Dan Fogleman/Sterling K. Brown project for Hulu.

Mark Harmon is repped by Gersh and attorney Barry Axelrod. Sean Harmon is repped by 3Arts Entertainment, Gersh and Genow Goodman. Monreal is repped by CAA, Mosaic, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson McGinnis Ryan. North is repped by Dan Halsted Manage-Ment.

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Source: DLine

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