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CBS Boss Addresses Cote de Pablo's NCIS Exit: 'We Offered Her a Lot of Money'

Why Cote de Pablo Left NCIS

CBS didn’t let NCIS leading lady Cote de Pablo go without a fight.

“I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — and then we offered her even more money,” CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves shared Monday morning at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills. “We really didn’t want to lose her, we love her. We think she’s terrific. We obviously were in discussions… and ultimately she decided she didn’t want to do the show. It was her decision. We don’t like losing anybody. We did everything humanly possible [and] exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn’t want to do the show.”

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News of de Pablo’s imminent exit from TV’s most watched drama came on July 10, barely a week before NCIS began production on its upcoming season and two months after Criminal Minds actresses Kirsten Vangsness and A.J. Cook endured their own protracted contract talks, as they sought greater pay parity with their male costars.

At the time de Pablo tendered her decision, she issued a statement saying, “I’ve had eight great years with NCIS and Ziva David. 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.”

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NCIS opens Season 11 on Tuesday, Sept. 24, where its new time slot rivals include ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The CW’s Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals.