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NCIS Dethroned as Most-Watched TV Show for the First Time in Five Years FSalinks


  • NCIS lost its ranking as the top scripted show after 21 seasons, making way for Tracker with 10.8 million viewers.
  • Tracker’s success can be attributed to its impressive debut after the Super Bowl and the return of star Justin Hartley.
  • CBS dominated the 2023-2024 TV season with seven shows in the top 10 rankings, including NCIS and Young Sheldon.

For the first time in half a decade, the popular CBS series NCIS has failed to reign atop the television rankings among scripted shows following the conclusion of its 21st season on May 6, 2024. Created by Donald Paul Bellisario and Don McGill, NCIS debuted in 2003 as a spinoff from another popular CBS program, JAG. Since then, the series has gained a loyal following, and developed an identity all its own, resulting in several spinoffs of its own over the years, including NCIS: Los Angeles, New Orleans, and the recently canceled NCIS: Hawai’i.

As per TV Line, a new report detailing the Nielsen viewership of the 2023-2024 TV season saw NCIS take in an average of 9.7 million viewers during its latest season, while the new series starring Justin Hartley, Tracker, managed an impressive average of 10.8 million viewers. This marks the first time in five years that NCIS has failed to reign supreme, but while the king may have finally been dethroned, it has already been renewed for a 22nd season, and is in no danger of being canceled.


NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in high-stress situations. Special Agent Alden Parker, a quirky former FBI agent who solves his cases with calm professionalism and sharp, sarcastic charm, leads the NCIS team.

Release Date
September 23, 2003

Mark Harmon , sean murray , Wilmer Valderrama , david mccallum , Rocky Carroll , Brian Dietzen


As to what led to Tracker’s success that allowed it to sit atop the scripted rankings? Many factors came into play, including its impressive debut time slot which fell directly after the Super Bowl on February 11, 2024, leading to the series being watched by a massive 18.44 million people, and drawing comparisons to the Prime Video series, Reacher. Those numbers would significantly drop for the second episode, which was seen by 6.87 million viewers. The final episode of Tracker’s freshman year, which aired on May 19, 2024, was watched by an audience of 7.65 million.

Tracker also saw the return of Justin Hartley to the small screen in a lead role for the first time since the conclusion of the wildly popular ensemble series, This Is Us, in 2022. Hartley endeared himself to viewers everywhere with his honest portrayal of Kevin Pearson in the emotional series, and fans of the 47-year-old actor were eager to see what he’d do next. His celebrity status certainly figured into the success of Tracker, which has already been renewed for a second season.

CBS Dominated the 2023-2024 TV Season With Seven Shows in the Top 10

While Tracker and NCIS battled it out for top spot in the rankings during the 2023-2024 TV season, it was actually CBS that came out the big winner. Aside from Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, which took home the top two spots overall, CBS had seven TV shows in the Top 10, including the news program 60 Minutes (8.3 million viewers), making it a very successful year for the network.

In addition to Trackerearning top spot with 10.8 million viewers, and NCIS taking second place with 9.7 million, the final season of Young Sheldon drew an impressive average of 9.3 million, while FBI earned 8.8 million, Blue Bloods garnered 8.4 million for the first half of its finale season, and the third season of Ghosts drew an average of 8.2 million viewers.


NCIS: Every Main Character Who Left the Show (& Why)

NCIS has seen departures of several main characters throughout its run. Here are the reasons behind their exits and the impact they had on the series.

NBC was the lone network to have a scripted show in the Top 10, with the 12th season of Chicago Fire drawing an average of 8.6 million viewers nationwide. Check out the overall Top 10 rankings for the 2023-2024 TV season below.


Average Viewership


Sunday Night Football

19.8 million


Monday Night Football

11.7 million



10.8 million



9.7 million


Young Sheldon

9.3 million



8.8 million


Chicago Fire

8.6 million


Blue Bloods

8.4 million


60 Minutes

8.3 million



8.2 million


are both available to stream on Paramount+.

Tracker 2024 TV Series Poster

#NCIS #Dethroned #MostWatched #Show #Time #Years

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