'NCIS' Fan Columnist: Cast Could Look Different Next Season
We may be looking at different faces in the fall.

It's almost summer time and that rustling you hear isn't leaves in a gentle breeze. These are different kinds of leafy greens. The kinds that make Hollywood grow. Money. 

Traditionally a stars' contract comes due and is renegotiated before filming starts for a new season. If the show's a hit the agent for the performer requests a raise, pretty standard stuff. A good job review (ratings) results in a pay increase. 

Like any business the employers would like to keep as much of the profits as they can. Many times employers attempt to cut the cost of labor to achieve a healthier bottom line. The employer 'low balls' the potential increase thus saving the company money.

Yes I know you took economics in high school too. What does this have to do with NCIS?

At this time the CBS top rated show may look a little different this fall.

Can you picture someone other than Tony DiNozzo making movie references at crime scenes? Could you imagine another person using the new finger print scanner other than Tim McGee? And who other than Dr. Ducky Mallard would tell those quaint stories and call Gibbs 'Jethro'? The lab would never be the same without thumping music, Caf-Pows and Abby Sciuto.

But that is a possibility.

According to Deadline four of our favorites have not accepted the contracts CBS has offered them.

Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum are without a contract to continue the show beyond this season. The report is actors and network brass are not getting closer to an agreement.

A paycheck of $100,000 a season is considered low for top rated shows especially after seven seasons. Two of our favorite four are below that level.

Replacing actors means a significant change in story line.

What would happen to Tony? Would he leave NCIS to take a position as tour guide for a movie studio/amusement park?

McGee could join a tech company who makes products beginning with 'I'.

Abby becomes a chemist for Caf-Pow creating new and abstract flavor combinations.

And dear Ducky joins academia becoming a beloved yarn-spinning professor at a very small ivy covered college.

Or they could all exit via one big explosion.

But don't hang black crepe to mourn your favorite character just yet.

You may recall the highly publicized and heated salary negotiations between NBC, Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. The two stars of Law & Order SVU held firm for an increase that ruffled the feathers of the peacock. Network execs threatened to replace the duo. In the end Meloni and Hargitay signed a new lucrative contract.

Networks executives know if it ain't broke clone it or keep it status quo. A winning formula shouldn't be made into a 'new' cola. Viewers might lose their taste for it.

I hope this ends well for these performers and for us who've been loyal to this series for seven seasons. A TV show needs two very important elements, actors to perform and viewers to watch. Take away one of those and the other won't be around long.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

-Jacky Jackman, BuddyTV Fan Columnist