When Cote de Pablo announced she was leaving "NCIS," fans were up in arms. The long-running drama, which still pulls in about 20 million viewers an episode, will say goodbye to her character Ziva in the beginning of the upcoming eleventh season and at the Television Critics Association Summer 2013 press tour, CBS CEO Les Moonves addressed the cast shakeup.
"We offered Cote a lot of money and then we offered her even more money," Moonves said. "We really didn't want to lose her. We love her ... We obviously were in discussion with the rest of the cast and the producers [and Cote]. Ultimately, she decided she didn't want to do the show."
Moonves said despite online chatter that she'd been fired, De Pablo decided to leave on her own. "It was purely her decision," he said. "We don't like losing anyone. It's the highest-rated show on TV. We did everything humanly possible."
De Pablo announced her departure from "NCIS" in early July, saying, “I’ve had eight great years with 'NCIS' and Ziva David,” she 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.”
At the time, CBS execs said in a statement that they "respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the 'NCIS' team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David. Cote and CBS share a great respect for the 'NCIS' audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva’s story."
"NCIS" Season 11 premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.