Cote De Pablo's departure from the hit CBS TV series "NCIS" doesn't appear to have affected the show's lead actor Mark Harmon, despite a producer's recent tweet to reassure fans that the show will go on without a glitch in her absence.
In an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" last week, Harmon addressed De Pablo's leaving NCIS, saying, "We've had a lot of changes [and] we've managed to get better with the changes both in front of the camera and behind the camera."
"We have another change this year with Cote leaving," Harmon added. "And it's up to this group, this highly professional group, to use that as a springboard to get better, and to improve and to try to stay No. 1."
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Now entering its 11th season, which will begin Sept. 24, "NCIS" is the most watched television series in the United States.
In the show, Harmon plays the fictional character of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a hard-driving, disciplined Marine-turned-special-agent who now leads a team of investigators for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which investigates criminal cases involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
One of the members of his team is De Pablo's character, Ziva David, a strong, smart, and sexy former Mossad officer turned NCIS agent, who joined the team in 2005 following the death of another female agent.
On July 9, CBS announced that de Pablo would not be returning following this upcoming season, after the network and actress apparently could not resolve a contract disagreement.
Following the announcement, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves told reporters they did "everything humanly possible" to get De Pablo to change her mind and stay with the show.
"It was purely her decision," he said, according to the Huffington Post. "We don't like losing anyone. It's the highest-rated show on TV."
The 33-year-old De Pablo released a statement about her departure in July, but did not explain why she was leaving.
"I've had eight great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David," De Pablo said. "I have huge respect and affection for Mark [Harmon], Gary [Glasberg], Michael [Weatherly], David [McCallum], Rocky [Carroll], Pauley [Perrette], Brian [Dietzen], Sean [Murray], all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story."
Last Tuesday, NCIS executive producer Gary Glasberg attempted to reassure fans concerned over De Pablo's departure in an open letter posted to Twitter, in which he wrote: "We've been very busy for the last couple of months making this work and handling the situation with the utmost care and delicacy."
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De Pablo's replacement has yet to be announced, though it has been reported that the show will bringing on a 20-something female character named Bishop
Citing "casting intel," Bishop is described as a "bright, educated, athletic, attractive, fresh-faced, focused, and somewhat socially awkward" character, TVLine.com reported
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