NCIS is number one again
by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 7th 2009 12:27PM
It's bigger than the NFL. It's drawing more than celebrity dancing. It's the little show that could. In its seventh season on the air, NCIS is the number one show according to the Nielsen ratings. Over 21 million viewers for the week of September 28 put the drama series on the top of the heap, and there's no sign that it was a fluke. This is the second week in a row NCIS was the top show.
The question a lot of people are asking, especially those who don't watch or have never even checked out NCIS is this: how did that happen? It's not normal for a show to get stronger after the five year mark. Some, like a Seinfeld for example, start slowly and nearly are canceled, but then find an audience and remain secure for the rest of it's run. Before Seinfeld, The Dick Van Dyke Show had done the same thing.
But NCIS has a history of being a decent Nielsen performer, better than average, but usually ranked in the twenties. Still, there were signs last year that NCIS was growing in popularity. It was in the top ten many weeks in 2008, especially when it wasn't going up against American Idol in the spring.
USA Network is being given credit for NCIS's growth spurt. USA has been showing NCIS in syndication and, if you buy into the theory, people who've never tried the show on CBS are sampling it on USA. They like what they see and are tuning in on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. for the brand new episodes.
There might be something to this theory, too, because Fox's House -- which is also showing in syndication on USA -- has been moving up in the Nielsens, too. It ranked number nine this past week with 14.7 million viewers. However, the USA viewings haven't helped NBC's Law & Order: SVU. On NBC for the past week, SVU ranked #40. The irony, of course, is that USA is an NBC/Universal channel.
By the way, there is only new show in the Top 10, NCIS's spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles with 17.4 million. I'd say that means NCIS has coattails.
[Watch clips and episodes of NCIS at SlashControl, as well as other shows.]