Should CBS Be Worried About NCIS' Ratings?

ncis cbs gibbs

CBS has had some hits and misses over the past few years, but one largely consistent series has been NCIS. Unfortunately for CBS, NCIS' once-stellar ratings have been dropping throughout Season 14, and the most recent episode hit a low that doesn't bode well for rest of the season. Although there's no reason for the network to start panicking just yet, the latest numbers must be disappointing for CBS.

The February 21 episode of NCIS earned a meager 1.6 in the valuable 18-49 age demographic, which TVLine reports is the lowest rating that an hour of NCIS has ever scored in the Live+same day calculations. It was a drop by two tenths from the previous week's rating of 1.8 in the key demo. NCIS was still one of the highest-rated shows of the evening; it just performed poorly in comparison to past episodes and points to a downward trend for the series as a whole.

That said, the viewership wasn't so disappointing, with 14.7 million folks tuning in to see what Gibbs and Co. were up to this week. Past episodes have fallen below the 14.7 million mark, so the news for the February 21 episode isn't all bad. It's also worth noting that the audience for NCIS tends to skew older. The February 21 episode actually scored a 2.5 in the slightly higher demographic of 25-54, and it continues to do well with adults above the age of 50. The only episode of any show to beat NCIS in the 25-54 demo was the newest installment NBC's This Is Us, which has been smashing network ratings records in its freshman season.

Of course, the 18-49 demo is still what matters most to advertisers, and there are a few reasons why NCIS is experiencing a downward trend in Season 14. There were a lot of changes to the status quo when the season kicked off in September. Longtime cast member Michael Weatherly left the series to star in CBS' Bull, and he was replaced by Wilmer Valderrama and Jennifer Esposito. The plots have be interesting enough without Weatherly, but fans may not have felt the same draw to the series as yet another member of the original cast departed. NCIS is also unlikely to pull in many new viewers now that it's in its fourteenth season.

We'll have to wait and see if NCIS continues to drop in the ratings. Luckily for fans, the show has already been renewed through Season 15, so they don't have to worry about a series finale this spring. You can catch new episodes of NCIS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. The latest episode indicated that Gibbs may be in for a huge change in the not-too-distant future, so it's worth tuning in to see what's in store. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what else you can watch in primetime.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).