The “NCIS” universe is about to broaden this year and next, with two new shows – a prequel and a spin-off.

The recent issue about the mothership of CBS’ “NCIS” franchise, whether the original show will be gaining a 22nd season, following the current 21st season, or head for the sunset via syndicated reruns.

But then news broke about a prequel on CBS, introducing Austin Stowell, pictured, as a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who star in “NCIS: Origins,’ tracking Gibbs as he launches his career as a special agent in 1991, years before the current series.

If that wasn’t enough, rumors of a reunion of two standouts in “NCIS” history, Michael Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo, and Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, also surfaced, but as a streaming show on Paramount+, not CBS. The title of new show, expected later this year, has not been announced, but its return to the small screen had been fueled with buzz and anticipation (mostly generated by Weatherly) 10 years after both special agents departed the show.

Two Harmons will be aboard

Mark Harmon, pictured, whose Gibbs viewers know well, will narrate the new prequel, and serve as the series’ executive producer, joined by his son, Sean Harmon, who has also previously portrayed a young Gibbs. Both Harmons  will join David J. North and Gina Lucita Monreal, who are set to serve as co-showrunners. and will co-write the premiere episode.

Stowell is not yet widely known, though he has amassed previous credits with roles in “Whiplash” and “Bridge of Spies.” He co-starred with Emma Stone in “Battle of the Sexes,” and appeared in other TV series as “A Friend of the Family,” “The Hating Game,” “Breathe,” and “Catch 22,” plus  Steven Spielberg’s series “Amazing Stories” and “Public Morals.”

It’s too early to know where CBS will program its newest “NCIS.” Could it be on Monday nights, where the prequel could precede the still-running original show, which in turn now precedes “NCIS: Hawaii”?  CBS already has a triple dose of “FBI” series on Tuesday nights, just the way NBC devotes Wednesday nights to the trio of “Chicago” shows and Thursday’s roster of “Law and Order” staples.

International implications

The spin-off will have international implications and thus will be shot abroad.

Cote de Pablo (Ziva David) and Michael Weatherly (Tony Di Nozzo) will reunite in a new “NCIS” spin-off based in Europe.

The new series picks up after Ziva’s dramatic return from her supposed death, reuniting her with Tony and their daughter, Tali, in Paris. However, their peaceful life is shattered when Tony’s security company comes under attack, forcing the family to go on the run across Europe. As theycsort out who is after them and why, they must confront the past and rebuild trust.

John McNamara, who wrote the pilot episode, expressed enthusiasm in joining the team to explore the NCIS universe from a different perspective and new locations.

“Given that the franchise is such a global sensation, I think it’s phenomenal that CBS Studios and Paramount+ have given us the greenlight to shoot in Europe,” he said in a statement..

Romantic tension, workplace friction

After years of romantic tension and workplace friction with Weatherly/Tony, de Pablo/Ziva resigned during season 10 but appeared in the first two episodes of season 11.

Shortly thereafter, de Pablo left the series, with her character being presumably killed in a bombing in Israel, as revealed in season 13 — but not before she gave birth to a daughter, Tali, who was fathered by Tony.

Weatherly’s character departed the series after season 13 to presumably care for Tali. Further, Ziva was revealed to have survived the explosion that everyone thought killed her in a bombing in Israel, as revealed in season 13 — but not before she gave birth to a daughter, Tali, who was fathered by DiNozzo.

Ziva was revealed to have survived the explosion in season 16, and briefly reappeared in that season’s finale and four episodes of season 17.

Exec producer credit, too

In their new show, Weatherly and de Pablo will serve as executive producers alongside John McNamara, The spin-off will mark the screen debut of the couple’s daughter Tali.

The spin-off will likely log a NCIS “first:” Mark Harmon will not be an executive producer and — for now, anyway — is not expected to appear on the show…

And that’s Show Biz…

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