It’s a scripted drama on TV, but NCIS hits pretty close to home, according to real agents. That’s part of what makes the show such a big success, which is part of the reason it has some of the of the highest-paid cast members of any show on TV. We know the show puts Mark Harmon’s net worth through the roof, but he has one person to thank for his success — show creator Donald Bellisario. The writer, producer, and director churns out hit show after hit show, and he’s been doing it for more than 40 years. Let’s take a look at Donald Bellisario’s track record of success, his roles on NCIS, and his net worth.
What other shows did Donald Bellisario work on?
Donald Bellisario (front) with the cast of JAG, one of the TV shows he created and produced. | Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images
If you’ve been in front of a TV at any point since 1977, then chances are you’ve seen a Donald Bellisario production at some point. Looking at his list of credits is like reading about some of the most successful TV shows of all time.
One of the first lines on Bellisario’s first jobs in the entertainment industry was producing the TV drama Black Sheep Squadron from 1977-78. That show featured veteran small screen actor Robert Conrad in the leading role.
Bellisario wrote, produced, and directed several episodes of Battlestar Galactica in 1978-79. He was the producer for a handful of Quincy M.E. episodes in 1979, but his breakthrough happened the following year.
Starting in 1980, Bellisario was the creative force behind Magnum P.I., which ran for most of the decade and made Tom Selleck a household name. He was the creator, writer, and producer on Airwolf in the 1980s, Quantum Leap from 1989-93, JAG from 1995-2005, and NCIS starting in 2003.
What does he do on NCIS?
The question isn’t what Donald Bellisario does on NCIS, but what doesn’t he do.
He’s the man who came up with the idea for the show, spinning it off from JAG in 2003. Bellisario directed just one episode, the debut titled “Yankee White,” but he’s produced 348 shows over the years.
Bellisario concepts many of the storylines on NCIS, so he has a lot of say about the show’s direction. He has 11 writing credits for the show, and most of those came in the early years as he helped turn NCIS into the success it is today.
The show is such a hit that it’s inspired multiple spinoffs, including NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans, but Bellisario doesn’t work on those shows.
What is Donald Bellisario’s net worth?
His successful TV career makes Donald Bellisario a rich man. | Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images
As the star and one of the producers of NCIS, Mark Harmon is incredibly rich. He has an estimated $90 million net worth. David McCallum, who plays Ducky, has about $10 million in the bank.
Former NCIS stars Michael Weatherly and Pauley Perrette, both have millions of dollars in the bank, but none of them come close to Donald Bellisario’s net worth. Apparently, creating hit TV shows is a lucrative line of work. He has a $250 million fortune in 2018, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
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