The Real Reason NCIS Hawaii Was Canceled is Actually Pretty Simple

The Real Reason NCIS Hawaii Was Canceled is Actually Pretty Simple
Image credit: CBS

While the decision seems counterintuitive, the reason is that Paramount is in an uncertain place.


  • Many fans are still disappointed by CBS' decision to cancel NCIS: Hawai'i after three seasons.
  • The reason is CBS' need to produce less costly but money making projects.
  • However, fans feel that the decision was wrong.

Last year proved to be an incredibly underwhelming one for television, as the sudden WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes brought nearly the entire industry to a standstill. As a result, viewers were hoping that 2024 would rectify the situation with nothing but upbeat updates on old favorites and new projects. But sadly, for the most part, we've been faced with increasingly disappointing news of postponements, budget cuts or outright cancellations of popular shows.

This is especially true of CBS's recent decisions. While its parent company, Paramount Global, is on very shaky ground awaiting a sale, the network, known for its procedural and drama series, has cut quite a few of them. One of the casualties was NCIS: Hawai'i, a show in the iconic CSI and NCIS series that was considered by critics and viewers alike to be one of the best spin-offs in the franchise when it debuted in 2021.

But why was the show canceled in the first place? While the reasons are quite disappointing, they are also incredibly simple.

Disappointing NCIS: Hawai'i Cancellation News

The cancellation of NCIS: Hawai'i wasn't much of a surprise, as the show's fate had been up in the air long before the official announcement of its cancellation after three seasons in April 2024. Still, the decision was incredibly upsetting and even frustrating for fans, especially in the wake of the cancellation reversal of S.W.A.T., another popular procedural led by Shemar Moore.

The Hawaii iteration of NCIS was highly praised for its original approach to storytelling: although the premise is similar to every other series in the universe, following the cases investigated by NCIS agents, it was loved for its likable characters, especially Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey), the franchise's first female protagonist.

The Real Reason NCIS Hawaii Was Canceled is Actually Pretty Simple - image 1

Although Hawai'i's numbers didn't compare to most seasons of the original NCIS, it still had some of the highest ratings of any CBS series. NCIS: Hawai'i was the 12th most-watched scripted program on broadcast television in primetime, averaging 7.8 million viewers and delivering 10 million in Live+35 across multiple platforms.

Why Did CBS Make the Decision to Axe the Show?

The decision to cancel one of the most popular TV series on its schedule seems weird But the reason is much simpler than it seems. And that makes it all the more disappointing.

George Cheeks and Amy Reisenbach, presidents of CBS Entertainment Group, said in discussing the network's upcoming fall season that it was 'incumbent to keep the schedule fresh and keep the momentum going'

'We had some tough choices this year. Everything came back very strong. There is a cohesive schedule, a flow.'

In the end, NCIS: Hawai'i had to be sacrificed for the sake of a 'strong and cohesive schedule.'

The point is that while Paramount Global is in the uncertain state of being sold, CBS needs to keep ratings high while keeping costs low. However, filming in Hawaii is incredibly expensive, and Season 3 required a large budget, even though the season was cut due to Hollywood labor disputes.

Unfortunately, the executives could not predict whether or not the show would pay off in the long run, and so the decision was made to go with the more obvious money-makers.

Of course, none of this convinced the fans. First of all, this was not the first CBS show to be produced in Hawaii, as Hawaii Five-0 preceded it, so the network should have been aware of the potential costs from the beginning. Second, Hawai'i was still one of the best iterations of NCIS, much better than the current Sydney, which fans thought would be the victim.

Source: Deadline.