“NCIS” fans were hit with a shocker in early July when its leading lady Cote de Pablo announced she was leaving the show. But the network didn’t let her go without a fight and CBS CEO Les Moonves reveals De Pablo’s move to quit the show was “purely her decision.”
“We offered Cote a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money,” Moonves told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills.
“We really didn’t want to lose her — we think she’s terrific — but ultimately, she decided she didn’t want to do the show,” Moonves said. “It was purely her decision.”
He continued, “We did everything humanly possibly and exhausted every opportunity. She just didn’t want to do the show anymore.”
But Moonves isn’t too worried about how De Pablo’s exit might impact the show. “NCIS is still watched by more than 20 million people a week,” Moonves said. Besides, the CBS procedural has been through major cast turnover before, losing original cast member Sasha Alexander after two seasons (De Pablo was her replacement, joining in the third season) and losing Lauren Holly at the end of Season 5.
De Pablo, who has played NCIS Special Agent Ziva David on the popular series for eight seasons, will return this fall for the show’s 11th season for a few episodes to wrap up her character’s storyline.
“NCIS” airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.