NCIS season 18: CBS announces even more COVID delays to flagship series

NCIS season 18: CBS announces even more COVID delays to flagship series

NCIS: Los Angeles 'Overdue' episode preview

Mainline series NCIS and its Los Angeles-based spin-off will no longer continue production next week after a local stay-at-home order was put in place in Southern California. The CBS franchise already saw extensive delays amid the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year, with the latest pushback raising more uncertainty for the future of the 2021 TV season.

NCIS season 18 and NCIS: Los Angeles season 12 will no longer resume production on Monday, January 4.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday after a surge of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County prompted the regional stay-at-home order to be extended to January 16.

The show’s current seasons are still expected to return in early January, with its completed episodes, after taking a hiatus over the holidays.

However, as filming takes place concurrently to the release of new episodes, it is unclear how many new instalments will be released before CBS takes NCIS off-air yet again.

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Also feeling the effects of the LA lockdown are the network’s new military action drama Seal Team, as well as Why Women Kill for CBS All Access and Disney Plus’s Diary of a Future President.

As reported cases continue to rise across the states, the latest delays were announced in the wake of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urging all TV and film productions to be suspended.

The health department said in a letter to industry contacts: “Although music, TV and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.

“Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower risk work for now, if at all possible.”

Despite home entertainment proving to be a saving grace during the pandemic, current productions are running the risk of causing further breakouts and overwhelming hospitals.

While the series is expected to stick to its current schedule and resume production again in mid-January, the continuous delays have proven to be a severe blow to what has been named the most popular show of 2020.

Before CBS brought season 18 to a halt this week, NCIS was lauded in November for finally reaching its impressive 400 episode milestone.

Moreover, the New Orleans-based spin-off has been praised for its sensitive depiction of life during the pandemic, with its production hoped to escape the new restrictions.

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Although the show’s staggered release this year has seen a drop in numbers, NCIS’s 18th season has still managed to pull in roughly ten million viewers each episode.

The franchise’s current outings will sadly be shorter runs than previous years, but the CBS series is still expected to remain top of the ratings in 2021.

Plus, there are still three episodes confirmed to release after the Christmas break in January, starting with a double dose of the main series on Tuesday, January 19.

Much like the New Orleans series, NCIS season 18 will eventually leap forward in time to see how Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) and the team cope with the ongoing pandemic.

So far, this instalment has taken an unconventional approach by setting most of the action in 2019, although the first episode opened with a preview of what’s to come later.

Meanwhile, NCIS: Los Angeles has provided an optimistic vision of the future by setting its current season in a post-COVID world.

The popular LA spin-off will thankfully return to screens much sooner, with a brand new episode airing this Sunday.

NCIS season 18 continues Tuesday, January 19, and NCIS: Los Angeles returns Sunday, January 3 on CBS and CBS All Access.

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