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The seemingly unstoppable NCIS franchise is getting smaller following the 2020-2021 TV season. NCIS: New Orleans, the second spinoff of the long-running NCIS parent series, is coming to an end at the conclusion of the current seventh season. The end of NCIS: NOLA certainly comes as bad news for fans hoping for a long future for the show, and also raises questions about the future of NCIS in light of recent news.
NCIS: New Orleans will end with the Season 7 finale that will now serve as the series finale, according to Variety, and scheduled to air on Sunday, May 16. Executive producers Christopher Silber and Jan Nash commented on the cancellation in a statement, saying:
It has been our sincere pleasure and honor to work on this show and with this incredible cast and crew for over 150 episodes. As disappointed as we are to see NOLA end, we couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done and are grateful to the spectacular and resilient Crescent City that embraced us for seven wonderful years.
By the end of Season 7, NCIS: New Orleans will have run for 155 episodes, which places it as the NCIS series with the shortest run. To compare, NCIS is in Season 18 and NCIS: Los Angeles is in Season 12. News that NCIS: NOLA is ending comes after the seventh season was shortened from the usual episode order to 16 episodes due to the pandemic protocols that made production more complicated and costly.
Given the executive producers' comment that they're "disappointed" that NOLA is ending, it seems that the show is ending despite their desire to keep going. It's possible that the difficulties of production in New Orleans with the pandemic safety requirements contributed to the decision to cancel the show, but only time will tell on that front. Scott Bakula, who stars on NCIS: New Orleans as Pride, commented on the ending as well, sharing his sadness:
Sad to end our love affair with this phenomenal city but so grateful for all the friends we made along the way. I will miss the music. Big thank you to CBS for seven years.
CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl shared that they're "pleased to give it a big sendoff" and that fans will "have the opportunity to say goodbye to their favorite characters as the final season wraps," which indicates that NCIS: New Orleans will be able to wrap the series rather than end abruptly. Interestingly, both executive producers Christopher Silber and Jan Nash are attached to the developing NCIS: Hawaii spinoff as creators and executive producers, so the end of NOLA doesn't mean the end of their time at CBS.
So what does this mean for NCIS? Normally, the cancellation of the show's second spinoff wouldn't lead me to wonder if NCIS itself is heading toward an ending when it stands as one of the most-watched shows on television in its 18th season, but the cancellation of NCIS: New Orleans comes shortly after news broke that NCIS could end if Mark Harmon decides to definitively leave the series after his contract expires, and his contract expires at the end of Season 18.
That's not to say that anything is settled about the future of NCIS and Mark Harmon on the series, but I find myself wondering about its future more than ever in light of the end of NCIS: New Orleans. For now, you can find new episodes of NCIS: NOLA on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following new episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.