CBS premieres the next series in the “NCIS” franchise when “NCIS: New Orleans” debuts on Tuesday, September 23 at 9:00 p.m. after the season premiere of “NCIS.” The new series stars Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder.
“NCIS” is the most popular television show in the world and in the US so the New Orleans based crime show is guaranteed a lot of viewers for episode one. Will it be able to maintain that audience is the question?
Both shows are attached to one another with “NCIS: New Orleans” spinning off from its popular anchor show. In fact “NCIS” helped launch “NCIS: New Orleans” last season when the “NCIS” team went to New Orleans to solve a case, introducing the new show’s lead character Special Agent Pride( Bakula) to the “NCIS” audience in a two-episode arc. In fact crossovers of the two shows will occur throughout the season. “NCIS” fan favorite, David McCallum will guest as Doctor Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the premiere, while and “NCIS’s” Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly will appear in the second episode as Abby Sciuto and Tony DiNozzo.
“NCIS: New Orleans” is described as a drama about the local field office that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in New Orleans, AKA “The Big Easy,” a city known for its music, entertainment and decadence. Bakula plays Special Agent Dwayne Pride, aka “King,” and Pounder plays Dr. Loretta Wade, the coroner who supports the team.
In the premiere episode, things take a personal turn for Special Agent Pride when he must investigate a case where a petty officer he once mentored is murdered.
Classic TV Examiner caught up with actress CCH Pounder, before production began, to talk about the show. One of the hardest working actresses today, Pounder has an impressive resume, having appeared in such shows as “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Shield” and “Warehouse 13” to name a few.
Pounder discussed her reasons for choosing the “NCIS: New Orleans” role and how she manages to stay out of the Hollywood “tabloid” spotlight.
Check out the interview below:
Phyllis: How did you decide to take this role at this particular time in your life?
CCH Pounder: First of all it’s nice to be asked. When you look at it, I think that the fact that I’ve been a big risk-taker in cable and doing things I never thought I’d be able to do. It was fun. I think I could bring some of that edge perhaps to network television in a different way. Also, it would be good, I think, for me to be seen by a broader audience. I think network television might very well offer me that.
Phyllis: You have a strong lead in on Tuesday nights with “NCIS.”
CCH Pounder: Yeah. We’ve got a wonderful cushion. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but we’ve got a wonderful cushion… a great introduction. But I do think we have a real person whose stories we are going to animate. The kernel of truth is going to be really important.
Phyllis: There are some actors working on the series that are still early in their careers. How do you feel about being in a position where they might look to you as a mentor?
CCH Pounder: It’s ironic because [the cast] comes to this from completely different roads. Sometimes your youth has nothing to do with experience. I do think people do admire other artists who have a kind of longevity. There must be a curiousness as to “Wow, how are you able to stay so long [in the business]?” So if there are questions, I may very well have answers for them. We’ll see.
Phyllis: How are you able to keep her name out there but stay out of the gossip magazines in this “tabloid” oriented world?
CC Pounder: I think you find what you’re seeking. Sometimes [that kind of spotlight is] put upon you, obviously. If I were a boy, 6 foot 3 and as handsome as I am as a girl, I think I might have more tabloids chasing me (laughs). Boys are still the number one thing that they are interested in. I’m a woman of a certain age, so I’m sliding through very nicely… easing my way through… Hopefully just the recognition [from them] of “Wow, that’s a good actor,” is all I ever was really interested in.
Phyllis: How do you decide which projects to take? Was there a project that you turned down that later you thought, “Maybe I should have taken another look?”
CCH Pounder: No. I read the script and that tells me if I want to do it. The story is still king for me.
Phyllis: What conversations did you have that led you to take this particular role?
CCH Pounder: I didn’t get it from a script this time. There wasn’t one. This was an idea. New Orleans was one of the focus, one of the characters. I thought the way New Orleans has evolved recently it wouldn’t hurt to put another show down there and help her move along. It doesn’t mean I’m doing this out of charity….its New Orleans. With the NCIS brand, you have a feeling and looking at it, you know that the viewership is very high. This gives me an opportunity to be seen by a larger audience. It’s more self-serving then it sounds.
Phyllis: You’re getting ready to start work. How are you relaxing before you head down to New Orleans to shoot?
CCH Pounder: Are you kidding? Are you nuts? (Laughs) I am pelting towards that Monday. I have yet to pack and secure my house. There’s still lots of work to be done.
Catch “NCIS: New Orleans” at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT after the premiere of “NCIS” at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.