'NCIS' Cast in Contract Dispute
by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 29th 2010 10:30AM
Trouble may be afoot behind the scenes of CBS' ratings juggernaut 'NCIS.'
According to Deadline, four of its stars -- Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum and Sean Murray -- are still not signed beyond the end of this season, leaving the future of the cast in limbo.
According to the report, all four have been given "low-ball" offers to re-sign with the show, which is currently in its seventh season on CBS. At least two of the four are making far less than $100,000 per episode, which is already on the low-end for a network show.
Just how much each star is making per-episode is unknown.
If contract negotiations fall through, the show would presumably be in for a major shift in storyline, considering how integral their characters -- Weatherly and Perrette's in particular -- play into the show. Even worse: No word yet on how their stories would be wrapped up. (And here we thought 'Lost' fans had issues.)
In the meantime, Deadline did have some good news to report: Mark Harmon, Rocky Carroll and Cote de Pablo are expected to return. According to the report, de Pablo -- whose contract ends after next season -- was approached with a similar low-ball extension.
How things will get settled remains to be seen, but fans shouldn't worry too much, as contract disputes have factored into many long-running series, from 'Friends' to, more recently, 'Law & Order: SVU.' CBS in particular had a hiccup in 2004 amidst contract negotiations with 'CSI' co-stars Jorja Fox and George Eads. The pair failed to show up to the set one day, which led to them being temporarily fired. Fox and Eads were later re-hired eight days later.