Ratings Bubble Report: Is ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ staring at a series finale?

NCISThere is no doubt that CBS is probably grateful beyond words at the moment for the “NCIS” franchise, given the ratings, the revenue, and the recognition that the shows have given them over the years. There are currently three shows that are on the air right now (all stemming from “JAG”), and we know that sooner or later, one will be the first to go much like it was for the “CSI” franchise so many years ago.

Could this first show be “NCIS: Los Angeles“? There is currently some evidence that would suggest so, but as we’re about to lay out in the latest edition of our Ratings Bubble Report series, there may not be that much of a reason to worry about it in the near future.

The good news – At the moment, there are many bigger fish to fry at the moment on CBS. “CSI: Cyber,” “Elementary,” “Code Black,” “Hawaii Five-0,” and “The Amazing Race” are all hour-long shows we’re confident are in more jeopardy than this one at the moment. “Blue Bloods” and “The Good Wife” are probably right around its level. It’s a show that is a big syndication player and also one that is competitive despite being up against similar crime shows for much of the season. You have to remember that for much of the year “NCIS: Los Angeles” has been airing against both “Castle” and “Blindspot” and has been #2 for most of it. Its ratings have also improved since the two went off the air, and the 1.6 it drew Monday was its best performance since last April.

The bad news – We like to look at year-to-year declines often in this series to project the future, and that’s not great news for “NCIS: LA.” So far season 7 is down over 18% from season 6, and that is without getting to the spring months that can be somewhat troublesome. Also, you have to remember that this is the point in a series’ run where contract negotiations often happen and things get much more expensive. There will likely come a point in here where the network determines that making the show may not be worth the price tag if the ratings continue to be what they are.

Renewal odds – High. Even with rising costs and lower numbers, we just don’t see the “NCIS” franchise losing a member this season. Can we envision a scenario in which this show is moved to Fridays next year, and will be in more trouble then? Sure, but we’d keep this show around over some others that are not doing anything to improve the network’s performance in troublesome timeslots.

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