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Fall TV breakouts: Chris O'Donnell & LL Cool J

The stars of the new ”NCIS: Los Angeles” hope to capitalize on ”NCIS”’s success

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Chris O’Donnell & LL Cool J
New Drama — 9-10PM — CBS — Debuts Sept. 22

With movie stars LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell (not to mention Oscar winner Linda Hunt) and the pedigree of a top 10 show, NCIS: Los Angeles should be an easy hit, right? ”I’m not going to even try to guarantee it,” says LL. ”I’m just hoping people like it.” That’s humility from a guy with two Grammys and a standing promise to ”knock you out.” While replicating the success of NCIS isn’t a sure thing, Los Angeles caught an early break: The two episodes of NCIS that introduced LL’s ex — Navy SEAL operative, Sam Hanna, and O’Donnell’s master of disguise, G. Callen, drew an audience of 16.7 million. Like the mothership, Los Angeles features naval officers tracking high-value targets, though maybe not yet with the same camaraderie. That’s to be expected, says O’Donnell. ”You watch the early Seinfeld episodes, Kramer wasn’t Kramer, Costanza wasn’t Costanza.” The trick, he says, is to ”stick around long enough to develop that.”