They love NCIS, but does NCIS love them back?

Australia’s Herald Sun is reporting that the fate of three NCIS stars continues to be in limbo, in follow up to a Deadline exclusive several weeks ago that revealed a dispute in the contracts of some of the show’s stars — specifically, their per-episode take-home’s.

‘NCIS’ Fan Columnist: Mark Harmon, Team Player

David McCallum, who belonged to the original quartet, had since arrived at an agreement with CBS TV Studios, which produces the ratings juggernaut.

On the other hand, there remains to be no news about Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and Sean Murray, whose contracts end this season.

“In any job you have people come and go and we’ve had that here,” Mark Harmon, NCIS star and producer, tells the Herald Sun.

The stalemate reportedly revolves around the trio’s per episode pay, which is pegged at less than $100,000, a far cry from what stars of shows with less-than-admirable ratings are getting. Harmon himself pockets $350,000.

Just for a little perspective, TV’s highest paid actor Charlie Sheen got a cool $1.2 million per episode of Two and a Half Men, while House‘s Hugh Laurie gets upwards of $400,000. Former CSI head honcho William Petersen used to earn $600,000 per installment, while 24‘s Kiefer Sutherland‘s per episode rate was half a million dollars.

Add in the fact that CBS was the most watched network in terms of viewers for the 2009-2010 television season, with NCIS leading its seven-show contingent on the 10 most watched shows this year, and you can kind of see why the actors are unhappy with their contracts.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Glenn Diaz

Staff Writer, BuddyTV