CBS has just confirmed that Cote de Pablo is not coming back for the 11th season of the network’s hit drama NCIS this fall, though she will appear long enough for her character Ziva David to finish out her storyline. CBS and producer CBS TV Studios said in a joint statement today that the decision was de Pablo’s to end her longtime run on the show. “We respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the NCIS team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David”, the statement says. “Cote and CBS share a great respect for the NCIS audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva’s story.” De Pablo had been the only other cast member without a deal (it expired at the end of the most current season) after star Mark Harmon re-upped in February, an agreement that allowed CBS to renew network TV’s most-watched drama soon after. Season 11 is set to premiere September 24. Most of the cast’s contracts are on a different schedule, with only Harmon and de Pablo up the same year. Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen and David McCallum also star. Said de Pablo in her own statement today: “I’ve had 8 great years with NCIS and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark, Gary, Michael, David, Rocky, Pauley, Brian, Sean, all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story.”
This past season NCIS topped even NBC’s Sunday Night Football as TV’s most-watched series, averaging around 22 million viewers — up about 7% from previous season. It also ranked No. 1 in the 25-54 demo. NCIS is also licensed in more than 200 markets and ranks as cable’s No. 1 off-network drama in domestic syndication, boosting ratings for USA Network.