Given the intense level of popularity surrounding “NCIS” since its premiere in 2003, CBS has had every reason to profit off the show as much as possible.
This meant creating a number of different spin-off series that used different cities as the focal point. This includes “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans.” “NCIS: Los Angeles” is soon going into its 13th season and the original mothership series is entering season 19. Meanwhile, “NCIS: Hawai’i” is the brand-new spin-off coming this fall.
It replaced “NCIS: New Orleans,” which was canceled after seven seasons. Even the original series was a spin-off of the popular legal drama series, “JAG.”
These spin-offs have gotten plenty of attention on their own. However, there’s one forgotten series that didn’t get the time of day.
‘NCIS: Red’ Two-Episode Premiere
In November 2012, CBS commissioned a pilot episode for a new potential spin-off. This series was going to be a direct spin-off from “NCIS: Los Angeles.” It was written and produced by Shane Brennan.
It would be very different than the other series that had been released so far. Instead of following one city, this show was going to follow “a mobile team of agents who live and work together as they go across the country to solve crimes.”
Most of the series use the backdrop city as a major part of the plot and overall experience. “NCIS: Red” would have expanded that to cities all over the country. In 2013, John Corbett (“Ramona & Beezus,” “Parenthood,” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) was going to play the lead, a retired special agent named Roy.
Edwin Hodge, Scott Grimes, Gillian Alexy, and Kenneth Mitchell were cast in the series as well. Kim Raver from “NCIS: Los Angeles” was going to be the leader of the team. She plays Paris Summerskill in the franchise. The pilot was two episodes, “Red” and “Red-2” and aired during “NCIS: Los Angeles” on March 19 and March 26, 2013. This was during the fourth season of the show. Then in May, it was announced that the pilot was not being made into a series after all.
Reason for Cancelation
In an interview with Digital Spy, the CBS Entertainment President at the time, Nina Tassler, explained why CBS made the choice to not continue with “NCIS: Red.”
“Sometimes [spinoffs] work and sometimes they don’t. Protecting [the franchise] was really important,” Tassler said. For a while, there was the possibility of redeveloping the pilot with an all-new cast, but this hasn’t happened either.
Instead of “NCIS: Red,” CBS decided to pursue “NCIS: New Orleans” instead. Sometimes backdoor pilots work, other times the characters aren’t given the time to interestingly develop.
Now the “NCIS: Hawai’i” is filming, hopefully, that series will make it beyond the pilot episode.