Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Showrunner Must Go On

CBS made it official this week, announcing series creator Don Bellisario will be leaving "NCIS," effective immediately, several media outlets are reporting.

Bellisario and series star Mark Harmon reportedly weren't seeing eye-to-eye about how the show was being run.

It's kind of an interesting situation. Bellisario has had a long TV resume, creating the likes of "Magnum, P.I.," "Quantum Leap" and "JAG" before creating "NCIS," (CBS, 8 p.m.) one of the network's better procedurals in a network full of procedurals.

Harmon revitalized his career leading his team of agents as LeRoy Jethro Gibbs, the no-nonsense ex-Marine. What made the situation on the set interesting was that the Gibbs character was written out briefly at the end of last season, and wise-cracking senior agent Tony DiNozo (Michael Weatherly) filled in ably as the team leader. The show, in theory, could have gone on without Gibbs, so it was interesting the network chose to replace Bellisario.

Don't feel too bad for Bellisario, however - he has two series in development right now. "NCIS" will continue to be run by the show's remaining producers.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Gilmore Girls" (CW, 8 p.m.) fans only have a couple of episodes left before the May 15 series finale. That show's cancellation hasn't really increased the chances of "Veronica Mars" (CW, 9 p.m.) to return, however.

In full ripped-from-the-headlines mode, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 9 p.m.) offers its take on the Anna Nicole Smith case, with guest star Kristy Swanson in the faux Anna role. It's followed by "L&O: SVU," because I really like typing initials.

It's down to four on "American Idol," (Fox, 8 p.m.) While she is still with us, catch all of the "AI" post-game analysis on Maggie Large's music blog, Amped. A brand-new "House" follows at 9 p.m.

ABC rolls out two new episodes of "George Lopez" at 8 p.m., followed by Nelly Furtado appearing on "Dancing With the Stars" and a new "Practice."

And, saving the best for last, "The Shield" (FX, 10 p.m.) is all-new tonight as well.


hotspur said...

Heard Harmon is a pretty miserable human being. I agree it was fine without him.

Jonathan said...

And the funny thing is not only could they have ran it with one of the other recurring characters in charge, why couldn't they just replace Harmon's character with a new one. Bring in someone like Daniel Benzali (Who has made a welcome return to television on "Jericho") or someone along those lines; hell, what's Tom Selleck up to these days? While Harmon's character has proven to be pretty one-note over the series run (While I still think he's great in the role), the other characters have actually developed rather well, and that kind of teamwork and playfullness has made the show a lot more fun that it has any right to be. I don't watch it every week, but whenever I've caught it it has always been a pretty entertaining romp. I don't think replacing Harmon would change that.

Phillip Ramati said...

I think it's tougher to replace an actor of a popular series with a completely new character. Sometimes it's necessary and works out great (Jimmy Smits replacing David Caruso on NYPD Blue, for example) but other times, not so much.

Simply streamlining the show by putting Tony in charge of the team - thus allowing the other characters more screen time - would probably have been the better way to go, but it's moot since Harmon will be back.

zodin2008 said...

I don't watch NCIS so it's inconsequential to me, but I heard Mark harmon actually helped saved a family from a burning house a few years back and risked his life so I won't rip this guy.

Phillip...I am also disturbed by the fact that you appear to becoming an AI follower. the apocalypse is clearly upon us.

As for far more important and smarter Television shows, the chances for "veronica" seeing a season 4 appear better & better under the time advancement premise of Veronica as a rookie FBI agent...the show would also have a new title and a new supporting cast.

It's quite unique but I think the CW realizes what an unbelievably appealing star they have in Miss Kristen Bell.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm not an AI follower, but since 33 million people are, I think it probably deserves a mention.

I have no problem with NCIS continuing with both Bellisario and Harmon. I like them both well enough. I'm simply stating that NCIS was in the unique position to replace its lead without it affecting the quality of the show.

zodin2008 said...

Phillip, just because 33 million people, or that's what Fox projects because of 1,500 Nielsen boxes, are wrong, doesn't mean you have to follow.

Phillip Ramati said...

Just because you don't like AI doesn't mean other people don't want to read about it. I'm not a Grey's Anatomy fan either, but it's one of the most popular shows on TV and I blog about it as well. If I only blogged about shows I personally like and nothing else, this would be a boring Web site indeed and some of my loyal dozens wouldn't keep coming back.