NCIS had its fanbase up in arms throughout much of the pandemic-shortened Season 18, as it wasn't clear what was happening with Mark Harmon and his central character Leroy Gibbs. That situation was mostly cleared up when the long-running crime drama was renewed for Season 19, though its star's future still hasn't been solidified as far as how often he'll be around, though it's reportedly not expected to be much. Thankfully, CBS has revealed its full fall schedule, so we know exactly when NCIS will return with new episodes on CBS, and it'll now be paired up with the ground-breaking new recruit NCIS: Hawai'i starting on Monday, September 20.
Other than 60 Minutes Season 54 and 48 Hours Season 35 - which will debut respectively on Sunday, September 12, and Saturday, September 18 - CBS is kicking off its entire fall season on Monday, September 20. So what better way to handle such a big even than to utilize the most-watched drama on TV? While NCIS' shift to Monday nights does make sense in that respect, it's quite the interesting shift to set the popular drama up at 9:00 p.m. ET, behind the premieres for The Neighborhood Season 4 (8:00 p.m. ET) and Bob (Hearts) Abishola Season 3 (8:30 p.m. ET), considering NCIS served as the lead-off program on Tuesday nights since its earliest days on the network.
Perhaps the move is in some ways a comment on the changes going from Season 18 to Season 19. Not only will Mark Harmon take a backseat as a recurring star, but the drama also bid farewell to Maria Bello's Jackie Sloane and Emily Wickersham's Ellie Bishop by the time the season had ended. Not that the show hadn't changed in major ways when previous stars exited such as Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly, but Season 19 also marks Katrina Law's promotion to series regular, with Veep vet Gary Cole also signing on for a lead role.
CBS does have a brand new franchise entry to promote in NCIS: Hawai'i, which will take the spiritual place of the cancelled-and-ended NCIS: New Orleans. The Pearl Harbor-set drama stars Vanessa Lachey as the franchise's first female lead, and she'll be joined by Yasmine-Al-Bustami, Jason Antoon, Noah Mills, Tori Anderson, Kian Talan and Alex Tarrant, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. vet Enver Gjokaj stepping in for a recurring role. I don't need a weekend of refreshing rest at a Hawaii resort to be clear-minded enough to know that NCIS: Hawai'i has the best chance of being a ratings champ with the original Jag spinoff as its lead-in, even if it takes a while for fans to realize the time-slot change is permanent.
CBS clearly thought that Tuesday nights were better for its also-evolving FBI franchise, with the flagship and FBI: Most Wanted spinoff serving as lead-ins for the series premiere of FBI: International. Elsewhere on the schedule, S.W.A.T. is making its big, albeit temporary, switch to Friday nights for Season 5 ahead of Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods, and Shemar Moore's drama will eventually return to Wednesday nights once David Boreanaz's SEAL Team makes the jump to streaming on Paramount+ later in the season.
Check out CBS' promo video for its new fall schedule below.