Why did CBS move NCIS season 19 to Monday nights? We know that it was to give FBI a larger platform and we understand that. The network clearly saw what NBC is doing with One Chicago and they want to emulate that to the best of their ability.
With that being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this was the right decision in terms of the live+same-day ratings. We’re going to have a few things to break down within this piece.
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Let’s start things off with the FBI season 4 premiere. Last night’s new episode, which also kicked off a three-way crossover featuring FBI: Most Wanted and the new FBI: International, ended up scoring a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic and almost 6.8 million live viewers. This pales dramatically in comparison to the NCIS season 18 premiere in 2020, which drew a 1.0 rating in the demo and over 10 million viewers. To take this further, the least-watched episode of NCIS last season in its Tuesday timeslot had 8.5 million viewers, significantly more than the FBI premiere.
Meanwhile, the season 19 premiere of NCIS on Monday drew a 0.7 rating and over 8.4 million viewers — a pretty good holdover from the Tuesday audience, but still down versus last year’s premiere. You have to think that if it was still in the Tuesday spot, it would have done a little better.
Has CBS hurt NCIS’ ratings?
It feels that way, but clearly they’re thinking in terms of a long game here. They want viewers to be watching the FBI franchise and to build a tradition there. Meanwhile, moving NCIS to Mondays allows them a chance to build NCIS: Hawaii after the fact. They may be willing to sacrifice some live viewers for the sake of some long-term stability elsewhere.
What do you think about the FBI ratings in comparison to NCIS?
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This article was written by Jess Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.