Home Television “NCIS” Star Wanted Pay Parity With Other Actors, May Have Talked Herself...

And now to Cote de Pablo, the beautiful Chilean actress who’s played beautiful, mysterious Ziva on “NCIS” for eight of the show’s 10 years. Who isn’t a fan of Cote de Pablo? No one more than Mark Harmon, star and executive producer of the number 1 blockbuster CBS series. Harmon and Cote are very tight, I am told. He was encouraging her to sign a new contract after all the other deals on “NCIS” had been achieved. But Cote, sources say, wanted pay parity with scene partner and on air love interest Michael Weatherly.

And now Cote de Pablo is gone from “NCIS.”

“She was asking for $225,000, closer to what Michael is making per episode,” says a source. “And the show wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t going to happen. She was being offered about $200,000, which is pretty good, and was up from what she had been making.” Indeed, that would come to over $4 million a season. You can’t beat that with a stick.

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“Mark Harmon was urging her to take it,” says my source. “And she waited and waited, figuring they’d cave in.” But it didn’t happen. “NCIS” is a show with a big cast. Harmon gets the big money, Weatherly follows, then Cote de Pablo. Pauley Perrette and the rest of the cast follow including David McCallum, formerly but always Illya Kuryakin.

A rep for Cote de Pablo would only say, “So far this has been handled in a very business like way. Your numbers sound wrong to me.” As for Harmon and Cote falling out on this issue: “They remain best of friends.”

Well, it won”t be the same “NCIS” without Zima, that’s for sure. I am told that Weatherly, who started on the ABC soaps 20 years ago, is very popular at CBS. “Les Moonves loves him,” says a source. “And they’re thinking of new things for him.”



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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
61 replies to this post
  1. I watch ncis because of Mark Harmon. I could care less who is with him. A show with just Him Ducky and Abbe would be alright. People are too greedy. cote should have enjoyed what she had and still would be there.

  2. Reply to Brynn I haven’t stopped watching ncis , but I watch it days after I’ve taped it because I know Cote de Pablo (Ziva) is not on it, and I use to watch it live because she was on it. I looked forward to the chemistry between all of them. It was electric!!!!! And that’s my opinion. Loved her and Tony’s banter, and the relationship between her and Gibbs, the show will never be the same for me. The storylines are still good, but the group is not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the same without Ziva.

  3. I found Ziva to be stilted, arch. Her cardboard ‘tude overcame the plots that were written around her–seriously, her bad relationship with her father and then his assassination was an incredible plot line, so why did I care more that Vance’s wife was killed in the same shoot out? . Her relationship with Tony was annoying as hell; his character has improved greatly since she left. This new kid Bishop is quirky, but within a 3-dimensional character. She is under Gibbs’ wing and it’s nice to see that.

    Bring back Kate.

  4. I agee that the new girl does not have chemistry with the other cast members. It’s just not working for me. I don’t look forward to watching ncis as much as I use to. I miss Cote de Pablo so much!!!!!!!!!!! Thank goodness for USA where I can still see Ziva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Games give it a rest. Cote is the one that decided to leave. Like other actors in an ensemble cast, pay is based on seniority as level of involvement in the show. CDP had no right to expect pay parity with Mark Harmon (main lead & exec. producer) nor should she have expected to be paid more than Michael Weatherly (secondary lead and with the show since its inception two years before she joined the cast). Funny how the show is doing okay -ratings still high enough to be renewed even without CDP. I say good riddance to bad acting.

  6. God you cheap bastards, that twit that replaced Ziva is ruining the show. Heck even Dinozo and Mcgee are struggling to deal with that low rent self centered bad actor. Thank god Ducky and Jimmy are tucked away in their own world, with little interaction. Abby has a bit more contact with this Twit, The cheap producers won’t cough up 25,000 per show to keep the an equal to Tony and Tim. Poor Choice guys.

  7. The new girl is a spinn from homeland on Showtime, not buying it! Bring Ziva back the show is not the same! She will take the money now. Notice that she did not get DEAD! So when the new blonde doesn’t work out “just copy cat” bring Ziva back

  8. I’m all for equal pay for equal pay since I’m a feminist, however, the way I see it Michael Weatherly has been on the show longer than Cote. I miss her character as I miss Cate but I just love the new agent. They were smart enough to create a completely different character who cannot be compared to the others because she is so different. Good writing guys, love the show.

  9. I am unaffected by Cote moving on. NCIS executives have and coming to come up with great shows. Her character was losing it desirability anyhow. I am happy with her replacement and the characters around her agree

  10. It doesn’t matter who they put in Ziva’s chair I’m not going to be happy! I was a HUGE FAN!!!! ALWAYS will be. NCIS storylines are still excellent so I still watch. Don’t know for how long. But I definitely miss her being apart of the cast. New girl? What choice do we have? They should just fill the seat with someone different every week.

  11. Sounds like she made a stand and was willing to move on–I don’t understand the problem — she will,probably regret it later but maybe not— business is not easy

  12. I think this article is a bunch of crap! It was obviously written by someone who didn’t like Cote and wanted to make her look bad. Note that the so called info came from an unnamed source. All articles about why Cote left from RELIABLE sources said it had nothing to do with money. Personally, I think her departure is a bit fishy. This article was based on rumors! Shame on the writer for not getting their facts straight. And shame on the few people who didn’t like her to constantly bash her! I started watching NCIS because of the character of Ziva and will stop watching once she is gone. GG and TPTB at CBS really blew it this time!

  13. Weatherly is nowhere near as good an actor as Cote. Moonves is a terrible executive, an even worse judge of talent. Moonves spent almost half a billion dollars to buy Last.fm, only to shut it down a few years later. And this is the guy who balked at shelling out $25k an episode more for a key actress who certainly deserves pay parity for a role that is the equivalent of its male counterpart. If it were his wife Julie Chen she’d be making more than Harmon. What a way to run a network.

  14. ziva’s character and the way it was portrayed by cote can never be replicated.she was bad ass ziva. i’m hoping she can do cameo roles later.i just don’t want her dead in the story arc. the show will go on.

  15. I never liked “Ziva” & I’m glad she’s leaving. More importantly I didn’t want Tony & Ziva together. I hope that character is killed off.

  16. I think they should have gotten rid of Tony years ago. I realize he is an actor but I have never watched anyone so arrogant. I love the show but usually when he comes on I leave the room or mute the TV until he is done talking. I think he ruins the show. It will not be the same without Ziva, and no, it won’t be easy to replace her. I give the show 2 more years tops now before it is history

  17. As it has been said if you read back through the comments, Cote left for many reasons. It wasn’t just about the money. If she really wanted to stay on she would have despite the pay difference.

  18. I thing she should not be paid more than “Abbey” or “Tim” but I think the ball is in her court now and she seems to be cutting off her nose to spite her face!!

  19. I think CBS are complete fools for letting Cote go over a few thousand dollars. Are they crazy?? She is perfect for Ziva, and without Ziva i find myself just not caring about the show. I am in their prized demographic, too. And the majority of my friends feel the same way. Cote deserves at least $200-300,000/ep. Look how much many other actresses on TV are earning these days -way more than that, and no other show comes close to NCIS ratings-wise.

  20. Hollywood is littered with actors/actresses who got onto one TV show that were popular and they assumed that was due to them and the $4 million acting jobs would be lining up if/when they ever left. When you are talking about money that gives you the option of never having to work again, you ride that horse as long as you can and if it means swallowing your pride and taking $4 million/year vs. $5 million/year, a smart person will do that every time.

    Sure… she will end up getting bit parts in other TV stuff but nothing that will be as big as NCIS and that will further drive her value down. She isn’t ever going to be an actress a hollywood studio is going to risk $50+ million on.

  21. How much money is ever enough for the Hollywood set? Ms.de Pablo should try getting by like millions of others are doing – working for minimum wage and sometimes working 2 jobs to make ends meet. She was stupid to turn down whatever money that was being offered. Now, she’s unemployed. NCIS will continue on just fine without her. Greed is so ugly.

  22. I am a huge fan of NCIS. I never miss a show but “Tony & Ziva” are the reason I watch. Don’t think i will watch anymore. Won’t be the same show! Women always get paid less! How wrong!!

  23. If they’re able to write as interesting a character as Ziva and get a good actress, they’ll be just fine. As irreplaceable as we thought Kate was, the show was able to survive because Ziva was just such an interesting character. Now the really irreplaceable ones are Gibbs and Tony, and, for my money, Ducky. But then, I’ve had a crush on David McCallum since I was a five-year-old watching Man from U.N.C.L.E. I wish Ms de Pablo and the rest of NCIS the best. Now, it’s up to the writers.

  24. Easy on the eyes but not a great actress by any means. I never really thought she was better than Kate. Good writers will bring the show through this with flying colors. Actually her character was getting a little boring and whiny. On with the future and more surprises.

  25. CBS and NCIS truly have taken out a big part of their show might as kill of like kate so we never get our hopes up again. But now move forward and let the actors that hung in there a chance they are great and with Mark Harmon there they will find there way. lets give it a chance at least greed just kick people in the ass sometimes. I hope she is happy. I hope the show survives as I love all of them. May it stay #1 so that Cote doesn’t think its all about her. one person doesn’t hold it all wait and see.

  26. NCIS will definitely loose it interest for me as I loved the chemistry between her and Tony and the “will they won’t they” content

  27. Personally I am glad that she has gone. The last couple of seasons espically the last one was all about Ziva and how she has been able to bend rules and murder people and the rest of the team follow her like lost puppies. Goodbye Ziva, I for one will not miss you

  28. They should have given her the money she asked for! She was one of the characters that really can’t be replaced! This may ruin the entire show! Might not watch it and I have watched every episode including reruns!

  29. Cote de Pablo was great as Ziva David. We never missed an episode and watched her grow into the role. Can not imagine who could top Cote in the role. We will not be viewing NCIS in the future

  30. I thought that was it when sasha alexander left. everyone can be replaced and that is the fact of life actors tend to forget when they let their greed overtake common sense. people don’t like change as a rule, but once it happens, it takes no time at all to roll with it. the only loser is the one who thinks their presence should be honored with a gazillion dollars. better to make anything, as opposed to nothing.

  31. Do not let her go ! She is irreplaceable ! Give her the money, the show is making a lot of money and she deserve it! Why you to want let a star like her gone?

  32. I think NCIS made a big mistake! We all love the show because of the characters and Ziva is a very important part of the cast! This is just another example of ruining a wonderful show. When you have a treasure you should do everything in your power to preserved and save it. HUGE MISTAKE CBS!

  33. How many top shows does CBS have? These actors on NCIS are a team and without ZIVA no longer a team. I’m 73 yrs. old and I love all these players. Everyone you talk to feels like I do. CBS should give them all a big raise. I just watched the episode where Kate got killed. I’ve seen it a dozen times but at the end where they were at the cemetery walking off and Abbey turned on the New Orleans funeral music it still brought tears to my eyes. This program is great but Ziva is a big part of it and If she goes I will sure miss her.

  34. Cote de Pablo is an okay actress but she doesn’t do anything a hundred other actresses couldn’t do for less money. No way is she critical to the ensemble cast. I’ll still watch.


  36. I think it’s stupid that let go of this amazing actress, they teased us in season 10 making us believe Tiva would finally happen, it came so lose in several episodes, especially the Berlin one, and now this, telling us she’s gone, this will be NCIS’s final season, you will lose audience all because you couldn’t come to an agreement to keep Cote De Pablo! She is worth every penny she was asking for whatever the amount, and it’s not fair to the NCIS audience that we are now left without Ziva N Tony. Don’t even tell me you’re killing her off, because you’ll lose my viewing the show for good, keep her alive, so when the series finale comes around next May 2014,it can end with an amazing TIVA moment! Sorry to see NCIS end this way, not fair to the fans of what I thought would go on for several more seasons!

  37. Without Ziva the show will not be as exciting.Watching since first episode,never missed one.Would record if I was unable to watch.Sorry for NCIS.With being number one show you would think a few thousand dollars would stop thousands of people not caring anymore.Sorry Ziva,without you Tony will be so so dull.

  38. I’ve enjoyed watching her and wish her the best. This happens to a lot of people like David Caruso and others. She tried to bluff Gibbs, bad play.

  39. Cote de Pablo’s portrayal of an Israeli was a case of a second rate actress having a first rate agent.
    She can be, and will be replaced by any one of the thousands of SAG-AFTRA members, now waiting on tables, who will be delighted to get anything including scale.
    NCIS is the only TV drama I watch. Everything else is Pawn Stars, or Fox News.

  40. Well if CBS wants to lose viewers or maybe they just haven’t been on twitter lately. There are a lot of people pissed by CBS letting her go but their loss.

  41. First of all, who is “Zima”? The character’s name is Ziva. Second, sorry, your sources are wrong. Weatherly only gets $175K an episode, and Miss de Pablo was asking for far more than that. Try doubling your quoted $225K an episode. And her demands stop there. You were right about one thing though: she bid herself out of the show. I can see why her management team wouldn’t want to give you the facts, but I would listen to them when they say your numbers are wrong.

  42. I think that with a combination of how the last 2 episodes portrayed Ziva as a tramp was it for her. We will never know the truth. However No Ziva No NCIS!!!! Berlin was a fantastic episode then the last two were like wtf, did those writers even think about the previous episodes, and why bring something out from nowhere. At least now I can watch SHIELD on ABC, Thanks CBS for freeing up tuesday nights. Cote best wishes and hope to see you in a new show you deserve the best.

  43. Cote de Pablo really is t worth the amount of money they were offering, ANC certainly not worth what hey are paying Michael Weatherly. He is out there promoting the show and being a positive power. She is nowhere near he actress as the others on this show and does little promotional work.

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