NCIS Season 19: Could low ratings get show canceled by CBS?

Bishop And Torres NCIS
Bishop and Torres have been good additions to the NCIS cast. Pic credit: CBS

NCIS Season 19 has not yet been picked up at CBS, but that’s also not too surprising.

Typically, CBS comes through with renewals of its top dramas in late winter or spring, so there is a lot of time left for an announcement of NCIS Season 19.

The show has taken a huge hit in overall viewership, though, which is why there are some new questions about whether or not Season 19 will take place during the 2020-21 television year.

Current Season 18 NCIS ratings

Only three episodes from NCIS Season 18 have been shown so far, so it’s a pretty small sample size to measure how well the show is doing.

At the same time, the huge drop in the ratings is certainly a reason to take notice, even with a lot of episodes left to air in Season 18.

For the first three episodes this season, NCIS has drawn an estimated 10.4 million, 10.2 million, and 8.5 million viewers respectively. Those numbers don’t take into account DVR views.

Without any context, those NCIS numbers are really, really good. Any show that can draw 10 million viewers is doing something right, no matter what time it airs.

But this has to be weighed in the context of the cost of filming NCIS (really expensive), and whether or not the network wants to keep pushing the show if the numbers are really slipping.

And for that context, we don’t need to look much further than the average viewership for each of the past few seasons. NCIS Season 15 averaged 17.02 million viewers, Season 16 averaged 15.89 million viewers, and Season 17 averaged 15.33 million viewers per episode.

That’s a really big drop and the show pulling in only 8.5 million viewers for the fall finale could be seen as a red flag. Could it mean that people are starting to tune out? Or was it just a fluke due to the pandemic and people getting busy in December?

Mark Harmon has indicated he wants a Season 19

Star Mark Harmon (Gibbs) has indicated that he wants the show to return and he hopes that they can get back to airing 24 episodes a season. That’s the first piece of great news for fans and the network.

When the show returns from its winter hiatus, it should also have a more static schedule instead of many breaks between new episodes. That could help people tune in each Tuesday night to see what’s going on with the team while knowing it won’t be a repeat.

An upcoming NCIS cast shift could also serve as a boost to numbers, so we aren’t yet worried about NCIS getting canceled, even with the dip in numbers.


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NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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