NCIS season 20 dealt major ratings blow as CBS drama hits near-record low
Can the latest seasons of NCIS bring back the momentum after suffering a worrying ratings dip at the start of 2023?
NCIS and its two spin-offs NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: Hawaii continue to be some of the USA’s most popular shows, but the beloved CBS franchise has sadly been slipping down the ranks in recent years. With the latest episode suffering some of the show’s lowest ratings ever, the network could have to make some huge changes to ensure the series stays afloat.
Season 20 of NCIS has been a low point for the series after pulling in some of its lowest ratings ever.
The latest episode of the current instalment, Bridges, saw the series once again failing to pull in the massive numbers it used to just a few years ago.
In the latest reports from TV Line, NCIS scored its second-lowest rating ever while the new spin-off NCIS: Hawaii also struggled.
Around six million US fans tuned in on Monday night, scoring a 0.3 demo rating for the mainline series.
Meanwhile, Jane Tennant (played by Vanessa Lachey) and the Hawaii team are still failing to pull in similarly high numbers.
After debuting to well over six million fans in 2021, the offshoot is regularly struggling to pull in more than five million for its second season.
While over seven million tuned in to the hotly anticipated NCISverse crossover at the start of the month, the latest episode scored just 4.2 million viewers.
This three-part event brought LA agents G Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) together with the main team for the first time since their backdoor pilot.
Despite the historic occasion, two of the three episodes scored just shy of eight million viewers.
Although this was a considerable boost compared to standalone episodes, it still failed to reach the huge numbers NCIS was scoring a few seasons ago.
In fact, roughly a million people had tuned out by the end of the crossover.
The last of the three parts, A Long Time Coming, was an NCIS: LA episode scoring just 6.8 million.
CBS’s disappointing figures could be a result of counter-programming, though they also point towards dwindling interest in the long-running franchise.
This week’s biggest draw in the USA was ABC’s broadcast of the Cowboys vs the Buccaneers for the NFC Wild Card playoffs.
The game dominated Monday night, averaging 15.3 million total viewers and a 3.2 demo rating.
However, the NCIS shows continue to struggle even without major sporting events to compete with.
Meanwhile, fellow CBS shows The Neighbourhood and Bob Hearts Abishola also struggled this week.
The two sitcoms scored 5.1 million and 4.6 million, respectively, and both hit all-time demo lows after returning from the Christmas break.
Ratings in the millions are still nothing to be sniffed at, but it’s clear even the biggest networks like CBS face an uphill battle if they’re to compete with live sports and a growing list of streamers.
NCIS season 20 continues Mondays on CBS in the USA. Season 20 premieres on January 18, 2023, in the UK on Disney+.