'NCIS': Will Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette be back?

ncis-michael-weatherly-pauley-perrette.jpg "NCIS" became the most-watched scripted show on TV this season, and its fans will tell you that a big reason for that is the chemistry among its ensemble.

But at the moment, it's an open question how many members of that ensemble will be back next season. The contracts for regulars Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray and David McCallum are all up after this season, and according to Deadline.com, CBS TV Studios, which produces the show, is playing hardball in negotiating new deals.

McCallum has struck a deal to return next season, but as of Friday morning (April 30) Weatherly, Perrette and Murray aren't signed for Season 8. Deadline characterizes the studio's offers to the three actors as "pretty low-ball." This despite the fact that "NCIS" is averaging almost 19 million viewers a week this season and a healthy 4.1 rating among adults 18-49.

Lead Mark Harmon, who's also a producer on the series, is already set for next season. Cote de Pablo and Rocky Carroll are also under contract for 2010-11.

CBS will announce its 2010-11 schedule at its upfront presentation on May 19.

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Related:

'NCIS' Pauley Perrette: 'There's a lot of Abby stuff coming up'
'NCIS': Mark Harmon says no to a Gibbs romance
Cote de Pablo on sexual tension and the end of the season

Photo credit: CBS