By Wayne Harada

Vanessa Lachey, Yasmine Al-Bustami and Jason Antoon will be the lead actors in the new island-based “NCIS: Hawai’i,” CBS announced today.

Lachey will portray Jane Tennant, the first female Special Agent in Charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor, overseeing crimes involving military personnel and national security issues in Hawai’i.

Al-Bustami will play portray Lucy, a junior member of Tennant’s NCIS team, ready to face a myriad of situations, challenging the walls of bureaucracy and chasing suspects in paradise.

Antoon’s character Ernie is NCIS’s cyber intelligence specialist, eager to tap his knowledge of technology, history and literature, ready to trace anonymous IP addresses or social media clues.

To adhere to sensitive Hawaiian ways, CBS will add an ‘okina to Hawai’i in its official “NCIS: Hawai’i” logo, which has not been evident in early uses of the brand name. But The Eye Network declined to cast a Hawaii actor for the secondary agent roles, which makes the original Jack Lord “Five-O” the only island-filmed procedural to hire islanders in recurring roles – remember Kam Fong Chun, Zulu, and Al Harrington in the pivotal crew of investigators who actually lived in Hawai’i? This was a missed opportunity.

PHOTO: Vannesa Lachey, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Jason Antoon

The circle of creators of the now shutdown “NCIS: New Orleans” will head the production team, including showrunner and executive producer Christopher Silber and colleague Jan Nash, with Matt Bosack from the “SEAL Team” series aboard.

Lachy as Tennant is making history as the first female honcho in the NCIS brand, and in a male-dominated profession. The Tennant character is a mother with kids, so she has to juggle her domestic responsibilities with her rigorous work.

Larry Teng, who has an overall deal with CBS, will direct the opening show and will serve as executive producer as well.

“Hawaii Five-O” viewers may recall seeing Lachey on an earlier episode and her recent TV work includes “Call Me Kat” on Fox, “Beverly Hills 90210” on CBS and “Truth Be Told” on NBC.The fourth in the NCIS family of shows dodged rumors of Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo, previously on the Mark Harmon-starring mothership show, “NCIS,” about possibly returning to the Hawai’i ‘ohana.


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It’s official. And it has its own logo.

And it’s about time.

After weeks of deliberations and rumors, CBS today announced it was formally green lighting another franchise show – “NCIS: Hawaii” – to join the family of “NCIS” procedurals. Hope CBS considers Hawaii natives to join the “NCIS” legacy.

Deadline was the first to announce the fourth in the CBS franchise and the first to have a female character heading the investigations theoretically based at Pearl Harbor.

The Hawaii nod was buried in the announcement that “NCIS: Los Angeles” was OK’d for its 13th season next fall, joining the mothership Mark Harmon-led original which has been approved for its 19th season.

As Hawaii makes its debut, “NCIS: New Orleans” is terminating its seventh season. So one in, one out. CBS also is procedural heavy: it kicks off “CSI: Vegas” and “FBI: International” this fall.

The Hawaii cast – hopefully, a blend of locals and Mainlanders — will make an impact. CBS has learned, from the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0,” now gone from the landscape, should advocate diversity in the acting ranks. This factor could impact how popular it will be in this maiden voyage. Having a woman heading the team is a starting point for diversity.

Expections and anticipations have been high. Though fans had predicted and hoped for a reunion of Michael Weatherly as Tony Dizono and Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, from the original “NCIS, ”that won’t happen, since Weatherly’s “Bull” also returns to the Eye Network this fall.