The 2020-21 prime-time television season begins tonight with “NCIS” airing in a new time slot, five other season premieres including “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice” and three premieres on the four major broadcast networks.
CBS moved “NCIS” from 8 p.m. Tuesdays — where it had aired since its Sept. 23, 2003, premiere — to 9 p.m. Mondays to allow the network to have an all-“FBI” night on Tuesdays, with “FBI” taking “NCIS”’ previous time slot.
“This fall, you’ll see us leaning into extensions of big, scripted brands like `NCIS,’ `FBI’ and `CSI,”’ CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl said during the network’s portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. “I know some of you ask why and the simple answer is that these powerful franchises check every single box for success in the current TV landscape.
“They still garner audiences in the tens of millions on live linear broadcast, dwarfing the vast majority of shows on all other platforms. They have millions of viewers that watch on a delayed basis, they are major streaming magnets and they remain incredibly popular globally. These series, along with `The Equalizer’ are franchises that are immediately identifiable with CBS and we monetize them on every platform and outlet.” Following “NCIS” at 10 p.m. is the premiere of the fourth element of the “NCIS” franchise, “NCIS: Hawai’i,” the first with a female team leader Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey).
“It seems like a long time ago when we started talking about the idea of developing a new version of this franchise set in Hawaii,” said executive producer Jan Nash, an executive producer of the canceled “NCIS: New Orleans” from 2019-21 whose producing credits also include the 2002-09 CBS crime drama “Without a Trace.”
“When we did start talking about it, what we wanted to do was figure out how we could make it feel different than the other three very successful series that have preceded us. We get no points for landing on the obvious solution, which is a female team leader.
“But once we’d gotten to that idea, we very quickly had three subsequent ideas that have come to sort of defining our pilot — a jet crashin into a mountain, which gave us a Navy crime, a bunch of 9-year-old girls on a soccer field being coached by Jane Tennant, wearing a pink camo sweatsuit, and then later in the episode Jane Tennant jumping off a cliff into the ocean to catch the bad guy that will then help us solve our Navy crime.
“Those three scenes really do create a framework for what we think our show is — this incredibly smart, charismatic, courageous, intelligent woman who leads a family of agents at work and goes home to her family — and that those two parts of the show would be what `NCIS: Hawai’i’ would be about.” The season premieres of “The Neighborhood” and “Bob Hearts Abishola” air at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on CBS.
The 30th season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” airs from 8-10 p.m. on ABC, including the first same-sex couple in the show’s history. Pop star JoJo Siwa will be paired with a female professional dancer who will be revealed on the premiere.
“I’m excited I get to do it,” said the 18-year-old Siwa, who told People in an interview published April 7 that she identifies as pansexual, which describes people attracted to others regardless of their gender. “I think it’s cool. I think it breaks something. It breaks a wall that’s never been broken down before. And it’s normal for a girl to dance with a guy, and I think that that’s really cool.
“But I think that it’s really special that not only now do I get to share with the world that you love who you want to love, but also you get to dance with who you want to dance with. I think it’s really special.” Siwa said during ABC’s portion of the TCA Summer Press Tour on Aug. 26, “there’s a lot of barriers that we’re going to have to break through” such as who leads, how do you dress and what shoes do you wear.
“It’s all something that I’m looking forward to and doing something that’s never been done before,” Siwa said. “It’s going to be tricky, but it’s going to give so much to people out there, people of the LGBTQ community, everyone, people who feel just a little different. “It’s going to give them a sense of `Wait a second. A girl can dance with a girl?’ Obviously, why not? And I think that that’s really special that I get to do that on this show. I’m so excited.”
“The Voice” begins its 20th season with an two-hour episode at 8 p.m. on NBC. Grammy-winning singer Ariana Grande makes her debut as a coach, replacing Nick Jonas. The premiere of “Ordinary Joe,” described by NBC as a heartfelt, life-affirming drama about how what you do in a single moment can change everything, follows at 10 p.m.
Three parallel stories diverge from the night of the college graduation of Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk) that find him and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change and stay the same.
Fox airs the fifth season premiere of the procedural drama “9-1-1” at 8 p.m, followed at 9 p.m. by the premiere of “The Big Leap,” a scripted drama about a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck people attempt to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show featuring a modern reimagining of “Swan Lake.”