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Mark Harmon Looks to Season 11

Mark Harmon (CBS)

Mark Harmon (CBS)

It seems that one law of the TV industry is that as shows age they begin to lose their audience. NCIS has turned that law upside down. In the first season of 2003-2004, the show averaged 11.8 million viewers. In season 10, it averaged 18.5 million viewers, an increase of one million over the previous year.

Mark Harmon is the star actor but refuses to take credit for the show’s success.

“We’ve been successful so far,” says series star Mark Harmon with some understatement, “and we keep finding ways to grow it.”

But don’t go laying too much credit for that growth, or any other metric of success, at Harmon’s feet.

He’s the star, of course, playing tormented but intrepid Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Special Agent in Charge of the military’s Major Case Response Team.

Harmon is surrounded by a sturdy troupe of actors including fellow charter cast members Michael Weatherly (NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo), David McCallum (Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard) and the wildly popular Pauley Perrette (as Goth lab rat Abby Sciuto).

“There’s four of us who were there in the beginning, plus pretty much 90 percent of our crew,” says Harmon, citing the stability of the show’s production team as one key reason for its continued robustness.

‘NCIS’ star Mark Harmon talks costars, hit show’s 11th season | Fox News


Harmon tried several careers before getting into acting. He was in a number of TV shows and movies but never enjoyed a great deal of success until “NCIS” came along.

“I’m not trying to shuck off our success, because it’s all earned, every bit of it. By a lot of people.”

Thus does Harmon reaffirm his one-for-all-and-all-for-one manifesto.

“I’m not the big dog,” he says flatly. “I might be a dog. But there’s a lot of dogs.”

Now 62, Harmon is an unlikely TV superstar. His manner during a recent interview is friendly but crisp, soft-spoken and firmly self-effacing. With his pretty-boy looks matured in middle age, this is the all-grown-up version of the star quarterback at UCLA who, after brief turns in law school, advertising and selling shoes, set his sights anew on acting and made good.

He forged a solid career in a succession of TV series, including “Reasonable Doubts,” ”Chicago Hope” and “St. Elsewhere,” where, nearly 30 years ago, he played the first prime-time hero to contract, and die of, AIDS.

His films include “The Presidio,” ”Natural Born Killers” and “Freaky Friday.”

Still, the man crowned as “the greatest actor who ever lived” by “Family Guy” cartoon aesthete Peter Griffin never reached the top tier of show-biz, even as he weathered accolades like People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1986. And, as with most actors, he has also suffered setbacks, such as his ABC private-eye drama “Charlie Grace,” which lasted little more than a month in 1995.

So when “NCIS” arrived as a spinoff of the durable but non-flashy military drama “JAG,” there was no particular reason to expect fireworks from this new venture.”

We were able to keep it afloat a couple of years because we weren’t good enough to get all the attention and we weren’t bad enough to get canceled,” says Harmon with a laugh. “And the biggest thing: We shoot in Santa Clarita,” which sits 30 miles comfortably removed from Los Angeles. “Nobody from the network wanted to drive out there!” Network execs stayed out of their hair.

‘NCIS’ star Mark Harmon talks costars, hit show’s 11th season | Fox News


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ziva david

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Tony DiNozzo

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