When JAG spinoff Navy NCIS debuted last fall, its title caused some head-scratching. If NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, then isn't the Navy part redundant? That's how Don Bellisario — creator of JAG and NCIS — always felt, but CBS overruled him. The network wanted Navy in the name to keep his two military crime dramas connected in viewers' minds. However, that's about to change.
"That NCIS has been labeled a JAG spinoff is good and bad," Bellisario tells TV Guide Online. "It's not remotely like JAG. I hope to God it runs as long as JAG, but it's a completely different show! It does not look, feel, taste or smell like JAG. That's why, next season, we're dropping Navy off the title. It's just going to be NCIS."
Will TV lawmen David James Elliott and Mark Harmon still share the screen in more JAG-NCIS crossover events? "No," he says. "NCIS is its own thing and we want to keep it that way. I want to get it away from JAG." Bellisario adds that while CBS likes the idea of drawing JAG's older-skewing audience, he has greater ambitions for the spinoff.
"We want younger people," he insists. "We're doing a show that should attract a younger audience. We've got good writing and good stars. Mark Harmon is hunky and still making those sexiest-star lists. Michael Weatherly is a really handsome guy, too, and funny. And we've got Sasha Alexander. I want the JAG audience, but I want a new audience, too. We've been holding our own against that juggernaut American Idol, which is very difficult. I want this to be a top 10 show."