LOS ANGELES — Gary Glasberg, the executive producer, writer, and showrunner behind CBS’s global hit “NCIS,” has died. He was 50.
Glasberg died Wednesday in his sleep, the network said in a statement.
“Today is an overwhelmingly sad day for ‘NCIS,’ CBS and anyone who was blessed to spend time with Gary Glasberg,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Gellar said in a statement. “We have lost a cherished friend, gifted creative voice, respected leader and, most memorably, someone whose warmth and kindness was felt by all around him.”
Glasberg joined “NCIS” in 2009, coming on for Season 7 as a co-executive producer and writer. Just two years later, he became the showrunner.
“Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain,” the cast and crew of the show said in a statement via CBS. “He inspired us with his leadership, his creative instincts and keen insight. ‘NCIS’ will not be the same without him, and each of us will miss his smiling face and unwavering humor, which lifted us every day.”
Under Glasberg’s watch, the show grew into a global commodity for CBS. It is now licensed in over 200 markets worldwide and translated into over 60 languages.
The series has been the most-watched broadcast drama on U.S. television for the past five seasons. It celebrated its 300th episode last year.
Last week’s “NCIS” Season 14 premiere garnered 19.2 million viewers, according to the network.
During his tenure, Glasberg also oversaw the departures of several major cast members, including Cote de Pablo and most recently Michael Weatherly, who left to lead his own series at CBS. Those exits often drew backlash from the show’s fans, but Glasberg remained certain the show, a spin-off of “JAG,” could soldier on creatively.
“We’re just going to approach it step by step and write the best script we can write,” he told EW in 2013, following de Pablo’s departure.
On Wednesday, Weatherly called his former boss “a gentle man and gentleman loved by so many people.”
In 2014, Glasberg created an “NCIS” spinoff for the network — “NCIS: New Orleans.” It is currently in its third season.
His pre-“NCIS” credits include “Crossing Jordan,” “Bones,” and “The Mentalist.”
Glasberg is survived by his father, sister, wife and two sons.