‘NCIS’ Repeats as Most-Watched Drama in 2020-21 Broadcast TV Season: See the Final Viewing Numbers

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

“NCIS” continues bringing in viewers for CBS as the show, once again, is the most-watched drama for the 2020-21 broadcast TV season.

The show, which stars Mark Harmon, averaged 12.6 million viewers per episode, according to an article at TVLine.com. Another CBS drama, “The Equalizer,” had 12.1 million viewers for its shows this season.

Which shows were Nos. 1 and 2 this season? One word: Football. “Sunday Night Football” had a 4.7 rating for NBC in the 18-49 demographic. “Thursday Night Football” on FOX had a 3.9 rating.

“NCIS” just wrapped up its 18th season with quite a season finale. Harmon, in his role as Jethro Gibbs, finds himself escaping after his “Rule 51” boat goes up in an explosion. There are stories that need completion as the show will open Season No. 19 in the fall.

‘NCIS’ Might Wrap Up Its Run On CBS After One More Season

Fans of the show might not want to hear this, but it is possible that “NCIS” will leave CBS after next season.

Why would this show, still bringing in viewers at record numbers, leave? It’s up to Harmon actually. See, the show’s lead star and one of its executive producers apparently wanted to leave after last season. Harmon even informed CBS executives of his plans, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Network execs quickly gathered together and said they’d end “NCIS” without him in the cast. That didn’t sit well with Harmon, so negotiations reopened. It’s possible that a compromise was reached for one more season that could put some finishing touches on the show.

Besides Harmon, the two longest-tenured actors on the show are David McCallum and Sean Murray.

David McCallum Had Leading Role in Classic TV Show

If for some classic TV fans the name David McCallum sounds familiar, then know that it’s OK. McCallum, years before finding “NCIS,” starred in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” on NBC.

McCallum played Illya Kuryakin, a spy from Russia who teamed up with Napoleon Solo [Robert Vaughn] to fight off secretive thwarts against world security. U.N.C.L.E. stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, a non-existent intercountry spy agency.

Its run on NBC was between 1964-68 right at a high point of the Cold War. Spy shows like “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby or “Secret Agent” starring Patrick McGoohan were hot on TV. In the movies, Sean Connery portrayed James Bond with spy-like suave.

The Press and Journal reported McCallum, at the time, received more fan mail than any other actor in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s history. Even more than someone from Memphis, Tenn., under MGM’s umbrella. Yep, even more than Elvis Presley.

People can catch “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in classic TV reruns. Of course, viewers can still see McCallum on “NCIS” again as a new season starts this fall.