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Monday, January 3 2011

Question: In many of my favorite shows (NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.), there have been contract issues and in some cases instances where lead actors and actresses decide to leave the show. I feel like if one main character left, then it would end the show in some sort of way. What do the cast members and directors do when a lead character leaves the show? An example: What if Mark Harmon or Ellen Pompeo left NCIS or Grey’s? Grey’s Anatomy is named after Meredith Grey, whom Ellen portrays, and NCIS would be nothing without Gibbs. And what if this was really to happen in the future? Would production of the TV show stop or would they try with what they have (other main characters and crew) and keep the show going as long as possible? — Carlee

Matt Roush: As usual, it really depends on the particular show and how desperately the network (and/or studio) needs to keep it around. The best example I can think of is the original CSI continuing without its team leader, Gil Grissom (William Petersen) — which may or may not have been a good idea, depending on how devoted one is to the show and to the remaining cast members. It’s pretty clear the Grissom-less CSI is a diminished series (though it’s still the best of the franchise), but the still has value to CBS on Thursdays, which is why it didn’t fold tent after the star left. If either NCIS or Grey’s lost its leads (and I don’t think either scenario is very likely, especially where Harmon is concerned), it would be a serious blow, but it’s possible the networks would try to keep them around for a bit longer. Grey’s has Lexie to fall back on, but who would want to see her POV on a weekly basis? (It would reek of latter-year ER.) And NCIS could conceivably continue without Gibbs, building a new team, but I imagine it would lose steam, perhaps even quicker than CSI did. This is where spin-offs come into play. Both shows have spawned them, some more successful than others, and if these motherships were to go away, you might find one or more main characters from the original series try to find traction in shows of their own. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this anytime soon.

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