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Why Is NCIS' Tony And Ziva Spinoff Heading To Paramount+ And Not CBS? A Network Exec Explained The Decision

 Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly in NCIS.
Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly in NCIS.

As NCIS gears up for the milestone 1,000th episode of its flagship show, the franchise is expanding in other areas. By now, most fans surely know it was announced that CBS ordered a prequel series about a young Gibbs. Then Paramount+ dropped more big news. The streamer recently ordered its own NCIS spinoff, which centered around characters Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David, with Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo reprising their beloved roles. With the main show and the Hawai’i spinoff currently airing on the Eye Network and with NCIS: Origins joining them later, some may have wondered why isn’t the Tiva spinoff doing the same thing? Well, a network exec has provided an answer.

The "Tiva" show technically won’t be the first NCIS spinoff to drop on the streamer. The newest series in the franchise to premiere, Sydney, premiered on Paramount+ Australia but aired on CBS in the U.S. Now with this new offshoot on the platform, CBS and P+ executive George Cheeks tells Vulture that this was more so fit for streaming:

Well, we also announced NCIS: Origins, which is going to be on CBS. The Weatherly project really felt more like a serialized streaming show, and also was an example of us trying to expand the aperture of NCIS, which is what we did with Criminal Minds on Paramount+. The whole goal here is to look at each potential creative execution and figure out where we think it ultimately should land. We had two really fantastic NCIS franchise extension ideas. One felt really right for broadcast, being more procedural, and one felt like a serialized streaming 10 or 13-episode idea.

Expanding the franchise to streaming does make sense, especially considering how popular this method of medium consumption is now. And, of course, it also gives the  NCIS IP a chance to expand its footprint within the entertainment landscape. What's also interesting is that it sounds like the Tiva spinoff could certainly differ from its sister shows in terms of narrative structure. That aside, one may feel that releasing that show and Origins around the same time feels like a lot. However, George Cheeks seems confident about the decision to move forward with both:

So when you’re trying to consistently expand what is the number one TV franchise in the world, why wouldn’t you want to develop both, and why not take advantage of the fact that one may creatively skew more towards a streaming environment versus the other?

The yet-to-be-named Tony and Ziva spinoff will have an advantage for Paramount+ subscribers. Not only will the series have more freedom when it comes to storytelling and content maturity level, but the episodes can be a lot longer than the usual 40-44 minutes. Even though there are only going to be 10 episodes, there's a lot of narrative ground that could be covered.

While there’s no telling how well the Tiva offshoot will perform on streaming as opposed to CBS, it will surely be an interesting experiment that could pay off well for Paramount as a company. Depending on how it does, even more spinoffs could even be ordered, and not just for the network. Considering former CBS drama SEAL Team found much success in streaming after switching platforms, as did the Criminal Minds revival, this latest decision could indeed prove to be a shrewd move on the execs' part.

As of now, a premiere date for the Ziva and Tony-led show has yet to be announced, but filming is expected to kick off later this year in Europe. Whether something is happening on CBS or Paramount+, this fan is excited about how strong the NCIS franchise is going after 20 years.