BEVERLY HILLS

Scott Bakula, star of the upcoming spin-off, "NCIS: New Orleans," knows that he and his cast mates have been handed a wonderful opportunity. Now, they just can't screw it up.

"We have big shoes to follow -- big footprints in the sand," he said, referring to "NCIS," prime time's most popular drama, and the show that will lead into his on CBS. "... The hope is we can get an audience to invest with us ... The ball that's being handed off is a perfect spiral. But there's pressure that comes with that, no question about it. We have to earn our place. It's not a given."

"NCIS: New Orleans" begins production in the Big Easy next week and, according to executive producer Gary Glasberg, the show will do its best to "really get into the culture and the flavor" of its distinctive setting.

Executive producer/creator Gary Glasberg, Executive producer Jeffrey Lieber, Executive Producer Mark Harmon, Zoe McLellan, Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder and
Executive producer/creator Gary Glasberg, Executive producer Jeffrey Lieber, Executive Producer Mark Harmon, Zoe McLellan, Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder and Lucas Black speak on stage during the "NCIS: New Orleans" panel at the CBS 2014 Summer TCA held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ( Richard Shotwell )

Glasberg also announced at the TV critics press tour that "NCIS: New Orleans" has added a new face to the roster. He's Rob Kerkovich ("Chasing Life"), who will be a series regular and play a morgue assistant. He joins a cast that also includes CCH Pounder, Lucas Black and Zoe McLellan.

Glasberg said there will be crossovers between the original show and "NCIS: New Orleans," but he offered no specifics.

"We're planning an episode where Gibbs (Mark Harmon) makes an appearance. Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum will be involved," he said. "That's the fun we have here with the interaction. As for when and how often, there's a lot that goes into planning and schedules."

"NCIS: New Orleans" debuts at 9 p.m. Sept. 23 on CBS.


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