‘NCIS’ Reverses Ratings Trend with Newest Episode

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS enjoyed its best audience of the season Monday, as the show welcomed back two show favorites.

Plus, the crime procedural didn’t have to compete directly against Monday Night Football. That’s at least technically. ESPN carried the Rams versus the 49ers, with ESPN2 taking the ManningCast of the game. But ABC didn’t simulcast the contest. Instead, the network featured Bachelor In Paradise, then the season premiere of The Good Doctor.

So how well did NCIS do? Try 6.71 million viewers. That was good enough to win the night against the other network programming. However, Monday Night Football did enjoy an overall ratings win, drawing 12.6 million viewers when you combine ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

Expect the NCIS numbers to swell over the next few days. It doesn’t include DVR or streaming numbers. That number is counted over a week’s time.

The NCIS audience number reversed a trend. The season 20 premiere attracted 5.819 million, the show’s smallest same-day audience ever. For context, same-day numbers are shrinking for every network show as more TV viewers watch via streaming. Still, the drop from the premiere audiences from season 19 to season 20 was significant, dipping 31 percent. Of course, last year’s show kicked off with an episode focused on whether Mark Harmon’s Gibbs was alive or dead. It also was the first of a four-episode story arc that said farewell to the show’s main character.

This year’s NCIS premiere was a well-publicized crossover with NCIS: Hawai’i that answered the cliff hanger from the season 19 finale.

NCIS: Hawai’i’s episode was “Stolen Valor” (Karen Neal/CBS)

NCIS Won the Night, But The Voice Got Close

Meanwhile, NCIS: Hawai’i, drew an audience of 4.74 million. While the OG show showed an increase in numbers, Hawaii continued to have relatively soft viewership. Monday’s episode was an increase from last week’s numbers. But all of season two is lower than its debut.

Over on the other networks, The Voice pulled 6.3 million and won the key demo for 18 to 49 viewers. The reality singing competition still is going through the blind audition process.

Over on Fox, 9-1-1 pulled an audience of 4.8 million.

NCIS also had a nice lead in from two CBS comedies. The Neighborhood (5.3 million), Bob Hearts Abishola (5 million). And NCIS also brought back to recurring characters for an episode called “Unearth.” Dr. Ducky Mallard, the retired medical examiner, made an appearance. The episode involved buried treasure and a curse. Ducky wanted to check out why a murder victim’s body was filled with 63 stones. And besides, it was his birthday. The episode ended with a surprise party for Ducky at Parker’s place.

And, Laura San Giacomo returned as Dr. Grace, the therapist who helps the agents get over trauma. This time, she and Torres were kidnapped. By the end of the hour, Torres declares that he no longer wants to be a “lone wolf,” and that he’ll tell his friends that he’s stopped drinking.