‘NCIS’: Will the Show’s Move in Time Slots Hurt Ratings?

by Matthew Wilson
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They say that change can be stressful. If that old adage is true, then it’s a stressful time right now to be a fan of the hit series “NCIS.”

The Mark Harmon-led crime procedural is moving to a new night. Some fans are wondering if the change will affect the show’s ratings. Within the television world, nothing is too big to fail. Take “The Walking Dead” for instance. That show was once one of the biggest ratings juggernauts on cable. But these days, it’s a pale shadow of its former self with Season 11 to be its last.

For “NCIS,” it’s been eight years since it had a Season 11. Now, entering Season 19, the show keeps chugging along with seemingly no signs of stopping. But “NCIS” is moving from its usual time slot for the first time. Tuesdays will no longer belong to Mark Harmon’s brand of justice. Instead, the show will be airing on Mondays instead.

But rather than view the change as a sign of panic, viewers should realize that CBS is taking a gamble they’re hoping to pay off. As “Field of Dreams” once said, “If you build it then they will come.” Well, CBS is hoping the “NCIS” faithful will follow the show into its new timeslot. In fact, they’re using “NCIS” as a lead-in to what they hope is their next hit “NCIS: Hawai’i.”

Should ratings start to tank, it’s very possible that CBS will reverse the decision and move “NCIS” back to its Tuesday timeslot.

‘NCIS’ on Mark Harmon’s Future

But the timeslot change might not be “NCIS” biggest gamble in the near future. There’s very much a question mark hanging around Mark Harmon’s role in the future of the series. Reportedly, Harmon considered retiring the role in Season 18. But CBS threatened to outright cancel the show if the actor didn’t return, according to reports.

It’s rumored that Harmon and CBS finally hashed out an agreement that the actor would take a more limited role in the upcoming season. This certainly fits with how “NCIS” chose to close out its Season 18. In the final moments of the episode, Harmon’s character almost perished. His boat went up in an explosion, and for a moment, many thought that Gibbs died. But “NCIS” confirmed his survival if nothing else in the final moments of the episode.

While a limited role may work for Season 19 and even fit Gibbs acting on his own, what about Season 20? At some point, “NCIS” fans may have to say goodbye to Harmon’s character. Especially if Harmon wants to retire from the role. It’s very much speculation now. But would “NCIS” kill off the character or give him the happy ending he long deserved? Could “NCIS” survive without Harmon’s Gibbs at the helm?

Outsider.com