Heading Into Season 18, NCIS Is Still Absolutely Dominating On CBS

NCIS Leroy Jethro Gibbs Mark Harmon CBS
(Image credit: Eddy Chen / CBS)
(Image credit: Eddy Chen / CBS)

As NCIS fans prepare to head into Season 18, there's a bit of good news to celebrate. The long-running procedural is still absolutely dominating on CBS despite its nearly twenty-year run. NCIS has hit a considerable delay in returning to viewers’ screens, but that hasn't kept it from continuing to find success on the Eye Network. In other words, the ratings are in!

Deadline reports that CBS has dominated primetime viewership for its 52nd week in a row, so an entire year. CBS’ victory is reportedly due in large part to NCIS. The stalwart drama grabbed a staggering average audience of 15.3 million viewers. With this, NCIS is officially TV’s most-watched show. It's a record the series is no stranger to securing, having earned the nod back in 2017, too.

To give those numbers some context, Dancing with the Stars’ recent premiere was considered to be a great start Season 29, as it kicked off with 8.28 million viewers. NCIS’s numbers are nearly double that. The series is one of many CBS shows that did really well during the early days of the coronavirus lockdown, which saw people eager to watch television. Back in March, NCIS actually saw a 21% increase in viewership.

With numbers like the ones NCIS is bringing in, it makes complete sense for CBS to have renewed the veteran drama. Fans are undoubtedly keen to see it return after its previous season came to an impromptu end. NCIS was not able to film its original season finale, which means fans will have to wait to see what the series had in store.

Despite its unplanned end, the drama still managed to end on a neat note. In the finale, an incredibly cool cameo saw the real NCIS director, Omar Lopez, stop by. Unfortunately, NCIS will eventually be down a significant part of its cast when it returns Maria Bello will exit the show during Season 18 after putting in eight more episodes to conclude her story.

So don't expect Gibbs and Jack to start a romance. As for NCIS’ arguably central will-they-won’t-they couple, Bishop and Torres, fans have a reason to keep hope alive. But can Season 18 keep up the high ratings it had during its last season? It'll be interesting to find out, and there are a lot of reasons to think the show can do it.

Fans will have to wait longer for Survivor and other shows, which means anticipation should be through the roof when they do finally return. Neither the reality series nor NCIS will be returning in time for this fall’s schedule. Thankfully, Wilmer Valderrama did share that feeling about getting back to work that signal enormous strides forward for Season 18.

Stay tuned to find out when NCIS will return to CBS while taking in a look at this fall’s premieres. In the meantime, catch up with older episodes of the procedural. NCIS is one of many shows you can stream on Netflix, including 2020 arrivals.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.