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Mark Harmon: Cote de Pablo exit just 'another change' at 'NCIS'

Fans may be upset about Cote de Pablo's exit from No. 1-rated "NCIS," but it doesn't sound like Mark Harmon is sweating it. 

The star of CBS' crime smash appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show" this week to plug the show's upcoming 11th season, which has already caused consternation because it will feature the departure of De Pablo. She's become one of the most popular actors on TV with her performance as Ziva David, a former Mossad spy turned NCIS agent. 

But Harmon said "NCIS" has overcome changes in the past and this time will be no different.
"We've had a lot of changes," he told Hall. "We've managed to get better with the changes both in front of the camera and behind the camera."
Referring to the show's remaining cast and crew, he added: "It's up to this highly professional group to use that as a springboard to get better, and to improve and to stay No. 1." 

Such self-assurance is a wonderful thing to behold, but producers might be a little more concerned than Harmon is letting on.

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In an open letter to fans posted on Twitter this week, executive producer Gary Glasberg conceded that the creative team was shocked by De Pablo's departure (she and producers evidently couldn't agree on a new deal, although the exact sticking points remain mysterious).

But Glasberg also wanted to reassure fans. "We've been very busy for the last couple of months making this work and handling the situation with the utmost care and delicacy," he wrote.

Hmm. Interesting choice of words to describe the exit of a popular cast member from the nation's most-watched TV show, but maybe the producers just have bad memories of fans' reaction to Jamie Lee Curtis' guest spot a few seasons back. 

What do you think?

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