'NCIS' Star Cote de Pablo Was Offered 'A Lot of Money' to Stay on the Show
CBS showed Cote de Pablo the money.
The "NCIS" star decided to walk away from the hit series after her contract expired at the end of last season. She'll appear in a few episodes at the beginning of Season 11, premiering on Sept. 24, to wrap up Ziva David's storylines.
Some fans have blamed CBS for not offering de Pablo a raise, but the network says they couldn't be more wrong.
"I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — and then we offered her even more money," said CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves at the Television Critics Association press panel on Monday.
"We really didn't want to lose her. We love her. We think she's terrific. We obviously were in discussions ... and ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was her decision. We don't like losing anybody."
Moonves added, "We did everything humanly possible, exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show."
Fans had every reason to suspect that a salary battle was behind de Pablo's decision. After all, the network has engaged in high-profile contract renegotiations before. Just a few months ago, "Criminal Minds" stars Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook reportedly threatened to leave the show over the disparity between their salaries and those of their male co-stars. They ended up getting sizable increases.
"NCIS" has experienced similar money wars in recent years. In 2011, de Pablo lobbied for a pay raise and was bumped up to $120,000 per episode, putting her on par with female co-star Pauley Perrette.
Then again, Perrette and Michael Weatherly got raises to $175,000 an episode last year. And star Mark Harmon got a massive increase, according to Deadline, going from $500,000 to $700,000 per episode.
All de Pablo would say in her official statement last month was that she had "huge respect" for her "NCIS" co-stars. "I've had eight great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."