NCIS season 17: What could Cote de Pablo’s return mean for the ratings?

Mark Harmon, Cote de PabloWe know that for many out there, the return of Cote de Pablo to NCIS is about so much more than just the show drawing big numbers to CBS. It’s about getting a chance to celebrate a beloved character, one who has been gone from television for far too long and one that we didn’t feel ever really had a proper conclusion. This is a chance to make things right and give this character a storyline that makes more sense. We are beyond excited to see what they are going to do with her and we are only one more sleep away until the train departs towards Ziva Town!

With all of that being said, the numbers do matter. CBS is hoping to generate big ratings from Cote’s return, and for good reason. Think back to season 16 — the episode “She,” which hinted in promos that Ziva was connected to a new case, drew the largest audience of the season in terms of live viewers. That’s a sign that Ziva does sell, and that was just for an episode hoping that Ziva would be a part of the show again. Now that viewers know that she’s going to be back (and for a few episode this season!), what could that mean for the ratings?

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If we were to map out one of our best-case scenarios for the season 17 premiere, it would be this — 14 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic. These would be the best numbers since the departure of Pauley Perrette back during season 15. It’s admittedly harder with each passing year to get live viewers — just remember that there are a lot of people who prefer DVR these days, and the television landscape is going to get even more crowded thanks to streaming entities from both Disney as well as Apple. Live ratings will almost certainly suffer to some extent, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t watching – they are just watching in different ways.

Want to know what the showrunners told CarterMatt about Ziva, Gibbs, and a possible Tony return? Check out our interview!

Nonetheless, we imagine that NCIS is going to continue to draw decent numbers for the premiere. While the best-case scenario is what we just mapped out, don’t be surprised to see 13 million viewers and a 1.4 rating. These are a little more in line with the performance of “She.” There are two reasons why the ratings could jump a little higher — premieres tend to perform well, and also here you’re guaranteed to see a lot of Ziva instead of the 5 seconds we got of her in the season 16 finale. It’s also been promoted heavily, with Cote doing a number of interviews with CBS affiliates and then also BUILD Series.

What do you want to see in terms of Cote de Pablo’s NCIS return, and do you think there will be big ratings?

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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

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