Ratings: NCIS Outdraws American Idol for First Time Ever, While Fox Dominates Demos

Television’s most-watched scripted series, NCIS, this Tuesday night outdrew reality juggernaut American Idol in total viewers for the first time ever, 18 million to 15.6 million in their shared 8 o’clock hour. And mind you, the giants used to square off plenty back when Idol ran on a Tuesday/Wednesday schedule.

What’s more, NCIS and its spin-off NCIS: LA combined to average 16.8 million total viewers to the two-hour Idol sing-off’s 15.8 mil.

American Idol‘s Season 11 Top 13 Guys Perform: Who Was Your Favorite? Take Our Poll!

Now that said, Idol of course dominated the 18-49 demo, delivering a 5.0 rating to NCIS‘ 3.4 and the three CBS dramas’ average of 2.8. In fact, both NCIS (down a tenth) and Unforgettable (1.9, down a tenth) were driven to season lows.

Turning to broadcast TV’s one big Tuesday finale, Parenthood wrapped its third season with 5.1 million total viewers and a 1.9 rating, up 4 and 11 percent week-to-week and the heartwarming, tear-jerking drama’s best numbers since Nov. 29.

Cougar Town, in its third week back and opposite Idol, dipped another 4 and 12 percent to new series lows of 4.3 million and 1.5.

A few other quick notes, then it’s back to the salt mines….

* While NCIS and Unforgettable were down, NCIS: Los Angeles (15.7 million total viewers/3.1 rating) saw a 15-percent bump in the demo.

* The CW’s Ringer returned to series lows of 1.1 million viewers/0.4; season finale has been scheduled.

* ABC’s The River, at 4.1 mil and a 1.5, was down double digits.

* At 10 o’clock, Parenthood tied Unforgettable (9.9 mil/1.9) for the demo win. Body of Proof (6.8 mil/1.3) dropped 13 percent in the demo.


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48 Comments
  1. Ari says:

    Where’s the rest of the ratings? I have been waiting to see what Cougar Town brought.

  2. Saint Alicia says:

    Good for NCIS! Though, the demo dropped like half a point from their previous ep… :\
    As for Unforgettable, from what I’ve read, it’s down 16% from The Good Wife in the same time slot a year ago, and is on the fence for renewal.
    Fantastic–cancel that drivel and give TGW back it’s rightful place on the schedule!

    • Vi says:

      Won’t make a huge difference on viewers for Unforgettable, but it was not on in the Northeastern Ohio area. The station preempted for a special on the Chardon High School shooting this week. No word when the station will show this episode.

  3. Jim says:

    what about ringer? that show has me on the edge of my seat lately.

    • KS winchester says:

      It has got a 0.4 with 1.1 million viewers. It is done. Cancel the show, already.

      • Jarrod says:

        I love Ringer, but clearly with the ratings, other people don’t. I’m not fussed if it were to get canceled, but I just hope the writers end it on a note where we’re not left with any questions. They have 7 episodes left. Make the best of it!

        • Svenja says:

          Ringer is a good show which happened to have been dragged to the wrong network. That’s why it fails. The quality of the show is actually quite good and so is the writing, but the show just isn’t what the “The CW” target group looks for

  4. Jarrod says:

    Go Parenthood! It’s definitely a shoe in for a season four renewal! 24 episodes NBC. Hint, hint.

  5. rob60990 says:

    And Cougar Town keeps falling. :D

    • the girl says:

      You are an ass.
      Seeing CT’s ratings dip like this totally kicks ass. I really will be sad if it’s cancelled in its prime.

      • Hugh says:

        It saddens me every week to see Cougar Town, Community & Parks and Rec’s ratings contrasted with 2.5 Men, Rob, etc…
        IMO they are the trinity of comedy on network tv atm and that they do not attract multiples of other show’s ratings is deeply upsetting.

    • Carm says:

      If something like this makes you happy, you must not a very happy person.

  6. KS winchester says:

    Network TV is gonna become a stinking gutter in the next few years. Good shows with quality never seem to succeed on Network TV. Many shows like River, Alcatraz, Fringe and that’s not at all good. Cable is the best place to launch shows like this.

  7. Jan says:

    I was one who was tuned into NCIS. I taped Idol, but fast forwarded through it. IMO, it was pretty bad.

  8. kevin says:

    Another happy if not emotional ending to a great third season of Parenthood and a great guest starring appearance by Derek Phillips aka Billy Riggins from Friday Night Lights. Fingers crossed for Season Four and perhaps if there’s an online petition to save the family drama. If it gets renewed for another season, don’t bring back Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan and a slew of familiar faces from the show.

  9. Carole says:

    Love NCIS. Wouldn’t watch AI even if you paid me.

  10. kirads09 says:

    Yay for NCIS and NCIS LA. :)

    • Lauren says:

      I second that.
      I love NCIS:LA and often feel like it doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves. The two-part episode was one of the best episodes of NCIS:LA I have ever seen. It kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole duration. The acting was outstanding. Daniela Ruah is my idol
      Glad to hear that NCIS is doing so well. These two shows are definitely in my top 5 at the moment.
      LONG LIVE THE NCIS’s!!!!! :)

  11. Ashley says:

    Ringer was SOOO good yesterday, a good bounce back from last weeks episode, not impressed with the ratings.

  12. Mcat says:

    I couldn’t believe the uproar on Facebook over the introduction of a gay agent on NCIS. The display of homophobia was so disturbing. It’s disappointing that so many NCIS fans are such bigots.

    • rusty says:

      I don’t use or follow Facebook, but I am also surprised at the reaction. NCIS has over the years had numerous cases involving Gay/Lesbian and even a trans gendered episode. I am surprised it took them this long to have a gay agent. Of course earlier, they couldn’t because of the military policy. A great step forward in my opinion. Now if we could just get ride of all the Idol, dance, make-up, model, fashion,cooking contests and other drivel type shows and go back to good ole entertainment. I wish they would stop all the shuffling around of new shows.

  13. Danny says:

    To be fair, “Ringer” has been getting a lead-in from repeats of “Hart of Dixie.” It’s still confounding why The CW would do this during sweeps. Said it before and I’ll say it again: either “90210” or “Ringer” may return, but definitely not both.
    “Cougar Town”: relish it now; ABC has never really been behind this comedy, and it’s horrible ratings don’t bode well for a fourth season.
    I agree: I like “Ringer,” and I hope they tie up loose ends before the end of the season. A cliffhanger seems unfair, at this point.

  14. A.R. says:

    I will never forgive ABC for sidelining Cougar Town – it’s such a great show! More people need to catch on to its hilarity, and soon….

  15. Steph says:

    NCIS beat Idol? YES!!! Maybe people will take the show more seriously now and give it the props it deserves. I’ve heard people say NCIS gets so many viewers because they have no competition. I would call Idol competition and they still beat them. I’m a happy camper.It’s funny how NCIS’ season low is still 18 million lol.

  16. Annabelle says:

    YEAH – finally AI is falling…go NCIS!!!
    Also, a big diss to ABC for how they have treated Cougar Town this season…sorry sacks that they are. Too bad they can’t jump ship to NBC if they get cancelled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    CAN THEY??

    • Nick says:

      Hi there –
      I watch NCIS too, but you might not want to “praise” them too quickly right now. I think the fact that less and less viewers are tuning in every week lately is very revealing, actually. I hope CBS is paying attention to this, Finally. I was not happy with the ep last night, and apparently millions of other NCIS fans weren’t either. The way they have been writing these characters lately is appalling. Many fans are complaining that they miss the character persona from S2 – S7. (Brennan, we miss you soooo much) Tony is acting like a CHILD again when he’s supposed to be acting like someone who will soon take over as the Team Leader. If I were Gibbs, I would BENCH DiNozzo for being so immature. Tony is far too old to be acting like a High-school tease. As far as Ziva, McGee, etc. are concerned, it’s as if the writers don’t know WHAT to do with them. There is a huge difference between “progressing” a character to show growth, and completely altering them so that they’re no longer recognizable to the established fan.

      • Svenja says:

        Well, this week’s rating drop is tied to American Idol. It’s usually not up against NCIS.

        • Nick says:

          Well, that’s not the point. The point has been, and continues to be – that the ratings are being affected because the WRITING for the show is not as good as it was in past years. I know a ton of longtime fans who are NOT happy with what’s happening right now, and I am one of them. It wasn’t tied up with AI last week, and yet the ratings were still down. It pains me to see the characters I love being “chopped up” like they are. I’m not sure which Tony/McGee/Ziva I’m going to get from one week to the next. It’s getting ridiculous. Only Abby seems to be “holding steady” right now. They don’t do as much to alter her.

      • Marie says:

        I agree with you, I stopped watching NCIS after their disappointing 200th episode. Tony has become unbearable, I just can’t stand NCIS because of him now. And I hate how they’re always dangling the Tiva storyline. Why can’t there be just no romantic angle for partners at work?

  17. AngelMoonGirl says:

    Woo! GO NCIS! Go Tiva! ;p

  18. sarah says:

    So happy Parenthood finished “strong”. It better be back next year
    I really like Ringer it gets better and better I hope it is back in the fall

  19. jennifer says:

    I am also becoming a Ringer fan also once again. With last night’s episode-they pulled me back in. Ever since coming back from its’ long,long hiatus-it wasn’t the same for me(maybe getting back into after such a long time-I don’t know-but-after last night-I’ll definitely keep watching!! I’m terrified because of the lack of ratings Ringer gets-I mean this is the CW- where almost every show stays on with even the most minimal of ratings-but still… It is very possible that either Ringer or 90210 will return in the fall(but not both). I certainly hope it is Ringer as it has such amazing twists and turns on a regular basis. Hey listen:I’m not saying Ringer is a masterpiece in every way,but, IT IS a lot of fun to watch each week-a lot!!Thank you.

  20. Holly says:

    Ouch. Bye Ringer. Bye Body of Proof. Bye Cougar Town.

  21. G says:

    Sorry to see Cougar Town not doing better. I hope things turn around soon. Glad to see that even on a bit of a down week that NCIS and NCIS: LA did better than Idol. Used to watch it, but haven’t for the past couple of seasons and don’t miss it a bit.

  22. Guy says:

    ABC have killed Cougar Town. Thanks alot ABC :evil:

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