So “NCIS: Hawai’i” is formally on the radar, with its Mainland principle cast named.
Next questions: What time slot, on which night, will the series land, and how many episodes will be filmed?
The logical spot might be Friday night at 7 p.m. Hawaii time, in the slot vacated by the canceled “MacGyver.”
If it lands here, “NCIS: Hawai’i” would give CBS a solid Friday lineup, since “Magnum P.I.” airs at 8 p.m., followed by “Blue Bloods” at 9 p.m.
Or “Hawai’i” could co-mingle before or after “NCIS: Los Angeles” on Sunday night. Maybe even piggyback with the mothership show on Tuesdays.
The final grid of programming has not yet been announced, so it’s even possible that “NCIS: Hawai’i” will set up its tentpole on new turf, on a night not yet decided. Nor has the number of episodes has not yet been disclosed. Since no pilot was filmed, it’s possible that the studio wants to see an actual show before deciding if “Hawai’i” merits a full 22-episode order. (FYI, CBS is sensitive to the proper way to spell ‘Hawai’i,” with the ‘okina between the two i’s, though its online promo logos do not reflect the update).
It also is possible that instead of a fall launch, CBS may wait till mid-season to slip the latest spin-off into action.
This much is certain: After “NCIS: New Orleans” vanishes after its current season — it hasn’t been renewed — the New Orleans behind-the-scenes production team will relocate to Hawai’i for the island spin-off.
Larry Teng, who has options with CBS Studio, has been tapped to direct and exec-produce the initial episode. His CBS credits include “Hawaii Five-0,” “Elementary,” “Criminal Minds,” “SEAL Team,” “S.W.A.T.” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
Vanessa Lachey will play Jane Tennant, the special agent in charge of the NCIS unit based at Pearl Harbor; she is the first woman to head an NCIS investigative team. The two other lead roles will be portrayed by Yasmine Al-Bustami as junior team member Lucy and Jason Antoon as Ernie, the cyber intelligence specialist.
Crossover shows happen frequently these days, which could logically link “Hawai’i” with “Los Angeles,” for a seamless crossover. A major crossover this year involved two “Law and Order” NBC series, the veteran “SVU” headed by Mariska Hagerty as Olivia Benson, with the newbie “Organized Crime” led by Christopher Meloni as Eliot Stabler.