NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans returned with winter premieres on Sunday night, but the viewership numbers were not impressive.
Ratings for each NCIS spin-off have been down this year, with several factors likely contributing to that fact.
The seasons started late due to the coronavirus pandemic, filming has had to adjust quite a bit with added safety precautions, and CBS keeps moving the shows to different starting times on Sunday nights.
It also hasn’t helped that the shows haven’t aired every week, adding to the confusion from viewers who aren’t sure when to tune in.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 ratings
For the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 episode that aired on January 3, it is estimated that 5.73 million viewers tuned in. The number was better than any other drama that aired on Sunday night.
Seven episodes have aired so far this season for the show, and three had lower numbers than this one. They were from November 22 and December 6, sandwiched around the brief Thanksgiving hiatus for the show.
The numbers remain down when compared to the 6.39 million viewers that were estimated to tune in for each episode of Season 11. Those are just the live numbers, though, and don’t take into account people watching later on their DVRs or through features like OnDemand.
Cheers to new beginnings and more challenging cases. The ride continues on Sunday with @NCISNewOrleans. ? #NCISLA pic.twitter.com/LsOEcWjtwD
— NCIS LA (@NCISLA) January 7, 2021
Taking into account viewers who watched the episode within seven days of it originally airing, the average number for Season 11 was 8.91 million viewers a week. Still a very respectable number.
That has continued with Season 12 as well. For the episodes on December 6 that we addressed earlier, roughly two million additional viewers watched them within those seven days.
If those numbers hold true for the winter premiere, NCIS: LA could be looking at roughly eight million viewers tuning in for the first 2021 episode. That’s not too bad at all, especially for a Sunday night drama.
Trying to turn the last zero in “2020” into a “1” after you wrote the date wrong again like ?. #NCISNOLA pic.twitter.com/g3DWJyADOD
— NCIS: New Orleans (@NCISNewOrleans) January 6, 2021
NCIS: New Orleans Season 7 ratings
The January 3 ratings for NCIS: New Orleans Season 7 revealed that an estimated 4.54 million viewers tuned in.
Those were the worst number of an episode of NCIS: New Orleans this season. It was only the fifth one of Season 7, but the numbers had been going up with each of the first four episodes of Season 7.
For estimated live viewership numbers, NCIS: NOLA is averaging 4.49 million viewers an episode. During NCIS: NOLA Season 6, the show averaged 6.33 million viewers, showing the huge dropoff so far.
The loss of viewers is certainly something for fans of the show to be concerned about, even as NCIS: NOLA continues to do well against other networks in its late time slot.
Viewers will need to start tuning in with more regularity to ensure that CBS orders Season 8 and that NCIS: New Orleans doesn’t get canceled.
More news from the world of NCIS
We are very close to the winter premiere for the flagship show, as NCIS returns with a double feature later in January. Some important storylines are going to take place and we get to see McGee’s wife for the first time in a long while.
It was also reported that the filming of new episodes for NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles had to be delayed due to the health situation in Calfornia. Hopefully, it doesn’t lead to shorter seasons for each drama.
NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans air Sundays on CBS.