Saturday, June 15, 2024

CBS Powerhouse “NCIS” Finally Showing Wear After 17 Seasons: Premiere Loses 3.4 Million Viewers Since End of Last Season


Is the juggernaut known as “NCIS” finally losing steam after 17 seasons?

Last night’s Season 18 premiere brought in a very healthy 10 million viewers that any other show would be thrilled with.

But that’s 3.4 million fewer — or 25% less than — the Season 17 finale last April, which had 13.4 million. It’s also 13% below the Season 17 average of 11.6 million.

On top of that, it’s 20% lower than the 12.6 million season 17 premiere a year ago.

What’s wrong? “NCIS” is old, Mark Harmon ran out of facial expressions a decade ago, and there are just so many Naval mysteries and murders left to tell. The whole “NCIS” franchise is looking shopworn, with “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “New Orleans” slowing down as well. Plus, in the case of “Los Angeles,” star Linda Hunt– who believe it or not is 75 years young– has been AWOL. There are rumors she’s leaving the show, which would be terrible since she’s the only reason those late night reruns are watchable.

The “NCIS” mothership has itself lost a lot of beloved characters, including those played by Pauley Perrette and David McCallum. Maria Bello, who’s been there for a couple of seasons, is leaving to return to films, I hope. Plus there’s been a lot of negative publicity over the last several years, particularly in Perrette’s case.

But with 10 million viewers, “NCIS” is still considered a hit. And I’m sure CBS will ensure that it makes the 20th anniversary mark.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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