Pack your bags, Gibbs: You might be heading to New Orleans again before too long.
This fall will bring the premiere of the procedural "NCIS: New Orleans," and the producers are making it clear that there will be plenty of crossover with the mothership, "NCIS," which stars Mark Harmon as a stoic special agent investigating military crimes.
"I'm here to help" colleagues making the spin-off, Harmon told reporters during a Thursday session at the TV press tour in Beverly Hills.
"We shot down there [in New Orleans] very aggressively for five days shooting the pilot," added Harmon, who serves as executive producer on the spin-off. "I've learned a few things in 12 years" starring in "NCIS."
"NCIS: New Orleans" was introduced this past spring through a two-part "NCIS" episode that found Gibbs in Louisiania trying to crack a congressman's murder. The series — which starts shooting next week in New Orleans — stars Scott Bakula as Dwayne Pride, the special agent in charge of the local NCIS office.
It becomes the second spin-off in the hit "NCIS" family. "NCIS: Los Angeles" has run on CBS since 2009.
The original "NCIS" — itself a spin-off of the military-justice drama "JAG" — has become one of the most successful series in TV history, both in the U.S. and overseas. CBS Entertainent Chairman Nina Tassler called the show a billion-dollar franchise during an earlier session with reporters on Thursday.
Perhaps because of its creative history, "NCIS" has taken crossovers to a new level. "NCIS: Los Angeles" has blended storylines with "Hawaii Five-O," another CBS crime drama.
Executive producer Gary Glasberg — who started toiling away on the spin-off shortly after he and Harmon batted around ideas last year — said managing the logistics of crossovers is part of the challenge of the franchise.
"There's a lot that goes into that in terms of schedules," Glasberg said. "We'll keep the balls in the air and make that work as best we can."