I’m rewatching the DC-based version of NCIS, and I noticed that (at least during the older episodes) that there are TV screens behind several agents’ desks, and that they seem to constantly show the fictional ZNN news network.

On occasion, the stories on ZNN tie back to the episode (example: in season 7, episode 14, “Masquerade”, as the team is heading from their elevators to their desks, each on the phone with someone, and each telling the person on the other end not to talk to the press about the potential dirty bomb material that is loose, Zika points is to ZNN, where they’re breaking precisely that story).

However, much of the time the ZNN footage has nothing to do with the episode.

My question: does the show create the footage for ZNN when it remains in the background and has nothing to do with the show, or are they using some actual news footage for the ZNN footage? If the footage is real, is there any record of where it comes from for different episodes? Is it really random, or is it coordinated with the show (I.e., is it linked thematically to the episode it appears in? Alternately, does it tie to the supposed time when the episode is taking place (for example, showing wildfire scenes in late summer/early fall)?)

1 Answer 1


We shoot the news reporter stand-ups at locations around D.C. usually in the warm months. I play one of the ZNN reporters you see most frequently on the screen in the NCIS war room background. You may know me as the co-host of Live PD* on A&E and host of Wanted on that network, and from my 19 years as senior investigative correspondent on America's Most Wanted.

~Tom Morris Jr.

  • Thanks! If you know whether they create everything we see, or if some footage has another source, please add that to your answer if possible. In case I wasn’t clear, it was obvious that any footage significant to the episode would be shot specifically for it; however, we see ZNN footage that’s purely background frequently. It makes sense that footage that clearly shows an individual would be shot by the show, for clearances and such; it’s less clear when seeing the aftermath of a hurricane or some such as background.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 20:50
  • Also - checked your IMDB profile, and apparently you go uncredited for this. Not sure how it’s done, but I’ve seen uncredited performers added to the listings. Just FYI.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 20:54

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