UPDATE 4/30: EW.com has confirmed that CBS TV Studios has closed a new deal with David McCallum, who plays Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard.
With NCIS preparing to wrap its seventh season on April 29, the cast has plenty to crow about: The CBS drama is not only averaging 18.94 million viewers (up 5% versus last season), it’s the most-watched scripted show of the year. So it’s hardly any wonder that co-stars Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo), Pauley Perrette (Abby Sciuto), David McCallum (Dr. Mallard) and Sean Murray (Timothy McGee) are looking to score bigger salaries before the show returns next fall.
Their actions are not exactly earth-shattering; the four actors are at the end of their traditional seven-year contracts so CBS expects them to seek bumps in pay (star/producer Mark Harmon is already a lock, while co-stars Cote De Pablo, who plays Ziva David, and Rocky Carroll, as Leon Vance, have deals that reportedly expire next year). The real question is how much CBS is willing to pay the four stars moving forward: Deadline.com is reporting that the company dangled low-ball offers, which stalled negotiations. Representatives for CBS declined to comment. Last year, CBS TV Studios, as well as other production companies, attempted to institute a pay freeze with its stars, but that didn’t include actors who were at the end of their deals.
Fortunately, there is plenty of time to iron out new deals. Though it’s unclear when a resolution will occur, it seems likely that new contracts will be in place - and Weatherly, Paulette, McCallum and Murray will be back where fans want them - by the time NCIS resumes production in July. Stay tuned.