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2020 has been a long year with television networks trying to find ways to return to television and adhere to COVID-19 protocols. Despite some trials and tribulations, CBS has managed to get a solid chunk of its dramas back in production, but with that return comes some sacrifice. NCIS and other dramas will have shortened seasons upon return, taking new procedures and setbacks for said shows into consideration.
As previously mentioned, NCIS along with NCIS: New Orleans, Blue Bloods, Bull, Magnum P.I., and SEAL Team have had their standard seasons shortened to 16 episodes. NCIS: Los Angeles and The Neighborhood will have their seasons cut to a slightly longer 18 episodes, but still won't be full length.
It was a necessary decision for CBS to make as its shows in production have had episodes take "at least a day" longer to film due to new COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, the cost of episodes has increased by hundreds of thousands of dollars to accommodate all the changes necessary for safe filming, so lessening the episode count of a season likely helps the network mitigate the money lost bringing these shows back.
It's worth noting that these might not be the only shows that see shortened seasons at CBS, as TVLine reported decisions have not been made on Mom, Young Sheldon, S.W.A.T., and All Rise. The challenge for CBS and other networks will be to flesh out fall and spring schedules, while the world waits for restrictions related to COVID-19 to loosen. The fall season starting later than normal this year will undoubtedly help some, but with no telling on if or when another full-on production shutdown may happen, there's just no way to know how the next few months could play out.
If there is an upside to shows like NCIS producing shorter seasons this time around, it's that the situation may not be the same as it was when production shutdowns first occurred. This time, shows may have taken the necessary steps to avoid another season ending on unplanned cliffhangers or changes. Again, it remains to be seen if another production shutdown gets in the way of new episodes anytime soon, but for now, it appears that things are on pace for these shows to return and keep on delivering.
As fall television gets a late start in 2020, be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest updates on what's airing when. Reality and competition series were among the first to return with new episodes this season, but big dramas are poised to return on ABC and NBC as well as CBS in November. Our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule can help you plan your viewing lineup. Also, be sure to follow in general for all breaking news in television and movies.