Gary Glasberg, 'NCIS' showrunner, dies at 50

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Gary Glasberg, the well-loved showrunner on CBS' NCIS, died suddenly Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 50.

Glasberg, a married father of two, was juggling showrunning duties on both the 14th season of NCIS — the most-watched show in the world — and its third-year spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans. In May, he signed a new three-year overall deal with NCIS producers CBS Television Studios that would have kept him at the helm of both shows through 2019.

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Under Glasberg's oversight, NCIS finished the 2015-16 broadcast season as the most-watched broadcast drama for the seventh straight year. The drama averaged 20.2 million total viewers, with its season 13 finale drawing an impressive 18 million — without DVR. The flagship series, starring Mark Harmon, has already been renewed for next season. What's more, Scott Bakula-led spinoff NCIS: New Orleans ranked as the third-most-watched drama last season with an average of 14.8 million total viewers.

PHOTOS: Gary Glasberg through the years

Gary Glasberg through the years
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Gary Glasberg through the years
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16: CBS drama NCIS: New Orleans Executive Producer Gary Glasberg before riding as monarch in the Krewe of Orpheus parade during Mardi Gras on February 16, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Skip Bolen/WireImage)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 17: The cast of the new CBS drama NCIS: NEW ORLEANS attended the premiere at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sept 17, 2014 Pictured: Executive Producer/Creator Gary Glasberg (Photo by Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 15: Producer Gary Glasberg of the television show 'NCIS' speaks onstage during the 'Drama Showrunners' panel at the CBS portion of the 2014 Winter TCA tour at the Langham Hotel on January 15, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, CA - AUGUST 07: NCIS' producer Gary Glasberg and Armando Nuñez , President and Chief Executive Officer of the CBS Global Distribution Group celebrate being named he most-watched drama in the World after receiving the International TV Audience Award at Monte-Carlo Television Festival on August 7, 2014 in Valencia, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Marshall Herskovitz (L) and Gary Glasberg attend The 38th Annual Humanitas Prize Awards luncheon at Montage Beverly Hills on September 14, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Brian To/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 29: Gary Glasberg, Executive Producer of the CBS series NCIS on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 17: Creator/producer Gary Glasberg speaks onstage at the 'NCIS: New Orleans' panel during the CBS Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 17, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
From left, Rob Doherty, Gary Glasberg, Jonathan Nolan, Greg Plageman, Michelle King, and Robert King participate in the "Drama Showrunners" panel at the CBS Winter 2014 TCA Press Tour, Wed, Jan. 15, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell Invision/AP)
VALENCIA, CA - FEBRUARY 09: (L - R) Actors Brian Dietzen, Emily Wickersham and Mark Harmon, executive producer Mark Schilz, actor Sean Murray and executive producers George Schenck and Gary Glasberg attend the cake cutting celebration for 'NCIS' 300th episode on February 9, 2016 in Valencia, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Executive producer Gary Glasberg speaks during the panel discussion for the series "NCIS" at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour for CBS, the CW and Showtime, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)
Executive producer\creator Gary Glasberg (L) and executive producer Jeffrey Lieber of the new series "NCIS: New Orleans" participate in a panel discussion during CBS network's portion of the 2014 Television Critics Association Cable Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA SOCIETY)

Glasberg joined NCIS in 2009 and took over as showrunner in 2011. He has appeared on THR's annual Power Showrunners list every year since. The news comes a week after both NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans returned for their new seasons on CBS. It's unclear at this time who will take over as showrunner given Glasberg's sudden passing or if production on either show will be impacted.

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Glasberg, born in New York City, started his writing career with comic books and animated series including Rugrats and Duckman before turning to dramatic procedurals including Crossing Jordan, The $treet, The Evidence, Bones, Shark and The Mentalist.

Glasberg is survived by his wife of 20 years, TV producer and screenwriter Mimi Schmir (with whom he worked on Shark), and their two sons, Dash and Eli. He is also survived by his father, Edwin Glasberg, and sister Mindy Glasberg. A memorial service is being planned for later in October. The family has requested privacy at this time.

"Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain. 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," the cast and crew of NCIS said in a statement.

Added CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller: "Today is an overwhelmingly sad day for NCIS, CBS and anyone who was blessed to spend time with Gary Glasberg. 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. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife, Mimi, his two sons and all his family and friends."

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