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Cote de Pablo's NCIS Exit: CBS Boss Insists It Was Her Decision to Leave

Cote de Pablo, NCIS Sonja Flemming/CBS

Fans who were crushed by the shocking announcement that NCIS favorite Cote de Pablo would not be returning to the drama series for season 11 might feel a tad bit better to know that CBS tried its hardest to get her to stay.

Today during the CBS executive session at the summer press tour, CEO Leslie Moonves wanted the letter-writing, rage-tweeting fans to know it was the star's choice to leave. They even offered a significant pay raise, and she still turned it down.

"I really want to clarify: We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money. And then we offered her even more money," Moonves shared. "We really didn't want to lose her; we love her, she was terrific, and we obviously were in discussions with the cast and the producers were aware with what was going on, and ultimately she decided that she didn't want to do the show. It was purely her decision."

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Still heartbroken, Ziva fans? Moonves may not feel your pain, but he hears it. And reads it.

"We're obviously getting a lot of emails and a lot of Twitter buzz about her, and rightly so, she's a wonderful lady," the CEO said. "Look, NCIS is the highest-rated show in television last year. We don't like losing anybody, but we did everything humanly possible; we feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show."

Pablo announced her departure in the beginning of July, saying in a statement: "I've had eight great years with NCIS and Ziva David. I have huge respect and affection for Mark [Harmon], Gary, Michael [Weatherly], David, Rocky [Carroll], Pauley [Perrette], Brian [Dietzen], Sean [Murray], all of the team and CBS. I look forward to finishing Ziva's story."

The network promised via statement that Ziva's storyline would get "appropriate closure" in the season premiere episode, which Pablo is set to appear in to wrap up her character.

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