Ratings: NCIS Returns (Very) Strong, Vegas Looks Flush, DWTS and Go On Drop

TV’s most watched drama isn’t ceding that title any time soon.

CBS’ NCIS dominated Premiere Tuesday, as its Season 10 opener delivered 20.2 million total viewers while scoring a 4.1 rating. Those tallies mark a slight uptick in audience from Season 9’s premiere, and a demo dip of just two tenths.

Leading out of that, NCIS: LA did 16.7 mil/3.4, which likewise only saw a decline in the demo, of just two tenths year-over-year.

RELATED | Fall TV Poll: Will You Return to CBS’ Vegas?

The debut of Vegas capped CBS’ winning night, as the retro crime drama opened to 14.7 million total viewers and a 2.5 rating, besting all broadcast rivals in the 10 o’clock hour on both counts. (If Vegas‘ numbers hold, CBS notes, it’ll be the Eye’s most watched Tuesday-at-10 drama debut in 10 years (since Judging Amy); a rival in turn whispers it’d be CBS’ lowest-rated drama debut since Century City circa 2004.

Versus Unforgettable‘s own year-ago launch (14 mil/2.9), Vegas drew more viewers but a smaller demo.

Elsewhere on the night….

* Over on Fox, both new installments of New Girl did about 5.3 mil and a 2.7, down slightly from where the comedy’s freshman finale left things. (Yes, New Girl debuted last fall to 10.3 mil and a 4.8, but that was off of a much stronger lead-in in Glee.) Playing out of the first Girl, Ben and Kate‘s debut retained 4.2 mil/2.0, while The Mindy Project held onto 4.7 mil/2.4 following Jess’ second outing, improving on Raising Hope‘s Season 2 average in several demos.

RELATED | Fall TV Poll: Is Mindy a Project You Plan to Take On?

* On NBC, The Voice (11.3 mil/4.0) saw its numbers drop some 15 percent with NCIS now in the mix. Facing New Girl, Go On (7.3 mil/3.4) dropped 20 percent week-to-week, while The New Normal (5.24 mil/2.0) slipped 14 and 9 percent versus Mindy. Against more robust competition, Parenthood impressively held steady with 4.8 million viewers and a 1.8 rating.

RELATED | Michael Slezak’s The Voice Recap: The Blind-Sided!

* Dancing With the Stars‘ bloated first results show opened ABC’s night with 11.6 million total viewers and a 2.0 rating, plunging 22 and 31 percent from last fall’s first elimination night. Private Practice returned to 6.6 mil and a 1.9, up just a hair from its Season 5 finale.

RELATED | Dancing With the Stars Week 1 Results: Did the Right Couple Go Home?

COMING NEXT TUESDAY: Raising Hope (now at 8 pm) and Hart of Dixie return.

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  1. Andrea says:

    NCIS is just a monster. Good night for CBS.

    • JAN says:


    • Milan says:

      Very boring part.
      I see end of this show in this or next season.
      Too many unlogic things, too much cheap heroic things, patriotic music ….sorry.
      I just wait for Tony’s and Ziva’s jump in love.
      That’s will be funny, others is boring (see before)
      It was nice show, now is just zombie.

    • Al says:

      If you don’t like it,please don’t watch it.

  2. leigh says:

    I’ve always found it funny how well this show does in the ratings but it is never nominated for major awards. Its sad to me because the show is pretty good.

    • Jenaette says:

      have to definitely agree with you. Most of the shows that win awards at the Emmys do not hold a finger to the amount of viewers that NCIS receives every tuesday. unlike most shows where viewers decline as each season pass, NCIS is doing the opposite. yet it is not being recognize for the success that they have had.

      • Tania says:

        So basically you are saying that because NCIS has more viewers it should win an Emmy? Lol

      • broncfanwa says:

        because people watch NCIS and talking heads who have to prove how smart they are run the Emmy noms. gotta say, with very few exceptions, i haven’t seen any of the Emmy darlings in recent years, but i’ve never missed an episode of NCIS. i

      • Britta Unfiltered says:

        Well, I believe the Emmys usually prefer to nominate dramas that exhibit daring creativity over ones that are procedurals with predictable plots, as it should be. In the words of Chris Hardwick, we are in a golden age of television right now, with many great shows on the air that are all critical darlings. I’m sorry you don’t think they’re as worthy as ratings juggernaut NCIS. You should expand your mind a little and give some of those great Emmy-nominated dramas a chance. And by the way, all the Emmy nominated dramas this year were cable shows, and cable shows are never going to have the same kind of ratings CBS shows have because not everyone has cable. But anyone with a TV antennae can get CBS.

    • Tom says:

      I was just going to post the exact opposite, it’s crazy how many viewers this show gets yet I don’t know one single person that watches it…on the flip side me and all my friends watch most of the shows that did get Emmy nominations…why I love tv nowadays there is so much diversity there really is something for everyone out there!

      • M says:

        Exactly, I don’t watch NCIS and I don’t know anyone that watches it either.

      • Karlie says:

        I was about to say the same thing. For a show that gets such ginormous ratings, I find it weird that not one person I know at work, at home or among my friends watches it. I can’t say that about almost anything else in the top 10 shows.

        For the record, I tried to watch it, thinking if so many people like it that it has to be good, and I found it pretty boring.

    • Joe says:

      Well, how well a show does in the ratings does not mean that it would be Emmy or other award worthy. One doesn’t equal the other. NCIS is a strong procedual with likeable characters however, it doesn’t hold a candle to the writing and acting on a critically acclaimed show like Breaking Bad. And therein lies the why one is Emmy nominated and the other is not.

      • Simon Jester says:

        ^ This

      • I know, right? I’m sorry, but the acting of Claire Danes, isn’t even comparable to pretty much anyone in network television and most cable shows nowadays! She’s just off the charts awesome!

      • Breaking Bad is stupid. Sorry, the whole plot is not believable, in the real world. Critically acclaims by the same reviewers that think “New Girl”, “The Good Wife” and “Grey’s Anatomy” all have great actors?? Zooey Deschanel is so hard to watch.

      • Ally Oop says:

        There is a good point raised though in this often-voiced debate. Just because a show is a critical masterpiece doesn’t mean its l better than a procedural. A show that gets 20 million viewers shouldn’t be overlooked because it’s not “critically good”. Network shows face more restrictions so they can’t go to the same levels of cable shows. And there has to be something said for viewer numbers. Should we just dismiss 20 million viewers as uneducated morons? I think not. Sigh. There are a lot of shows that I admit are good but for whatever reason, I cannot get into because they fail to captivate me. I sat through Breaking Bad and a couple other shows for the last couple of seasons and know they’re well done, but admittedly I would much rather watch Grey’s Anatomy and Vampire Diaries so what does that make me? Unrefined? Which show is better: a show that is good quality or a show that people love to watch?

        • Ally Oop says:

          P.S. The other problem I have is that all dramas are put into the same category. I don’t think it’s fair to judge NCIS, Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls, Smash and Fringe in the same category. I also don’t think Glee and Desperate Housewives should be judged with half-hour sitcoms. There should be the following categories: Best Drama (General), Best Drama (Sci-Fi/Fantasy), Best Drama (Young Adult), Best Drama (Procedural) and Best Drama (Dramedy or Musical). I realize that’s five categories but I think it’s a better alternative than spltting the Emmies between network and cable broadcasts–it’ll give other shows a chance to receive recognition for their craft at their genre.

    • GK says:

      The drop in ratings was probably because two tenths of the viewers passed their 50th birthday ;)
      PS: I don’t know anybody who watches these shows (NCIS and LA) either.

    • Reta Abbott says:

      I have been wondering the same thing. It is a great show!

    • Shaun says:

      Um,because the show is campy….it’s about as Dramatic as White Collar,lol.Case of the week forces away most major feelings.If the episodes had more than 3 minutes of drama I’d die!!

  3. The average person who watched Vegas last night was 75 years old. Seriously. New Girl scored a higher 18-49 rating with just 5 million viewers :D I mean, it was expected, but this kinda stuff never ceases to amaze me. :D

    I hoooope The New Normal stabilizes at 2.0. If it stays there for the next couple of weeks, a full season order is a done deal.

  4. Taylor says:

    the voice had a 4.0 demo not a 4.5

  5. Gaara says:


  6. Emily says:

    I’m amazed that I can not watch NCIS and yet never be out of the loop during casual conversation. I guess it’s monster viewership just lies elsewhere.

  7. Jamie says:

    There is no doubt this will be the final season of Private Practice with those ratings. ABC needs to call it, so they can get publicity and wrap it up.

    • Ang says:

      1.9 demo for PP doesn’t bode well. They might not even air all of the 13 episodes they committed to.

      • Dizzle says:

        I highly doubt they’ll stop airing it. A 1.9 is soft but it’s on par with Body Of Proof in the same slot last year. Plus it’s their second longest-running scripted series (behind Greys Anatomy), ABC are certainly not going to ditch Shonda like that.

        • Ashley says:

          Didn’t they already kind of ditch her? Only a 13 episode pickup, move it from its protected time slot and cut the budget? ABC may thinks she walks on water, hence why PP is even still on, but ratings/demo are end game.

  8. Andrea says:

    DWTS seriously needs to cut the results show to an hour. The demo numbers for the second half hour were much better than the overall. 2 hours is just too long!

  9. Jenn says:

    People all said the same thing about NCIS how only people who watch it are old…Yet it beat the Voice…So cant go off one night for Vegas…Doesnt seem like any of the 10pm hour shows are doing well on any night.

    • Elyse says:

      i’m 23 and i have been watching NCIS for years… it’s not only old people. my boyfriend is 24 and we both love NCIS and NCIS LA. they probably think its all old people since it’s a JAG spinoff.

      • Jenn says:

        I agree with you im only 30. I was just making the point that for year NCIS was given alot of crap for having high overall numbers but lower 18-49 it took 6 seasons before the younger viewers started to watch so you cant knock something one episode in. All 10pm shows are down.

        • Elyse says:

          i totally agree with you. i recorded Vegas so i can check it out tonight. just to see what its like! might end up being a new favorite like NCIS! its not just for older people. i watch a wide variety of shows though which i know a lot of people my age don’t do!

    • Jenaette says:

      Disagree on only old people watching NCIS. Many people I know, including myself, who are younger than 30 have watched NCIS for years. If you look at it, not many shows survived after 4 seasons. and those who do are not recognized enough for it. NBC, ABC, and FOX are always cancelling and adding shows way more often than CBS.

    • My whole family watches NCIS. We’ve watched it since it’s been on. That’s 24 year old me, 17 year old brother (he’s watched it since he was 7!!!) and my 47 year old mom! Pretty wide audience range ’round here!

  10. michelle says:

    They should have renewed unforgettable instead of picking up vegas.

  11. JC says:

    Not a great start for Ben and Kate although I rather liked it. New shows tend to drop in their second episode and next week it will have its regular lead in, Raising Hope, which is lower rated than New Girl. So I’ll guess B&K will be at about a 1.7 demo rating next week which doesn’t bode well for a back nine pick up.

  12. KSM says:

    I am always amazed that NCIS has so many people that watch it. I do not know a single person that watches that show. Maybe it doesn’t play well on the coasts.

    • Jenn says:

      you are prob the the 1,000,000 person to say that yet 20 mil every week…time for people to find a new show to rag on. The #1 scripted show should be off limits now. What was CSI doing in its 10th season. Sure wasnt number 1.

      • Jenn says:

        Or maybe you just dont know that many people and who the heck cares if people you know watch it. Im sure the networks arent home saying we need more of KSM’s friends to watch.

    • Who researches these things, anyway? says:

      Apparently it doesn’t. I read an article in the past few days (I don’t remember from where, possibly here at this site) that indicated that the bulk of the NCIS audience was “middle America.”

      • Jenn says:

        tried to find the article which shouldnt be hard since it was “the last few days” but not one thing came up for that…

        • Who researches these things, anyway? says:

          I’m sorry. I really don’t recall where I read it; it might have been either the LA Times or AV Club. Those are the only two sites, other than here, that I’ve been to in the last week or so. I just remember the comment being made by somebody, and found it interesting. If it comes to me, I’ll post it.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich, Editor-at-Large TVLine.com says:

        If any such article exists, it certainly was not at this site.

        • Jenn says:

          wasnt on anysite…trust me i tried since i fig. it was a lot of b.s….I dont get the obsession with people saying no one they know watches it. Well get more friends people. 20mil of them are out there

          • Tom says:

            Actually I just googled “ncis audience middle America” and found a plethora of articles talking about why ncis is so popular in middle America (including the New York post and the Wall Street journal)…I’m not saying I agree with it or really care either way, but it is out there

          • Jenn says:

            The WSJ one was from 3 years ago…and the POST no where in it does it mention where it gets watched the most….Not knocking you just saying thats all

  13. kate says:

    I guess the 5 people who angrily declared they and everyone they knew were abandoning NCIS over the “Tiva” spoilers yesterday didn’t make much of a ratings dent.

  14. Ali says:

    I’m enjoying Go On. Here’s hoping for a full season pick up. (You better NBC)

  15. Jenn says:

    Who really cares where its viewed…Does it pull 20mil? Did it win the night in the demo? Beating the voice which every teenager watches? And New girl which a year ago was killing the demo? with high 4’s and beat Glee repeatedly in the demo last year…?

  16. Jenn says:

    Cause I dont think CBS cares where it gets watched as long as it is putting up these numbers

  17. M says:

    New Girl was great last night. Ben and Kate annoyed me so much I couldn’t finish it. I have no plans to watch it next week. The Mindy Project was so so. Not sure I will make time to tune in again. I haven’t watched The New Normal in a few weeks because I just don’t have time and I don’t really care. I watched the beginning of Vegas then deleted it because I’m not really interested in 1960’s Vegas and I needed to make room for the Castle-thon on TNT today. I recorded Parenthood but didn’t have time to watch. I’m sure I’ll be crying a river when I do.

  18. M says:

    I don’t watch Go On. I prefer Episodes w/ Matt Leblanc

    • tp says:

      Are they similar? I’ve only seen promos for Episodes.

      • M says:

        Go On and Episodes are not similar at all. Episodes is on Showtime and Matt Leblanc plays himself. It’s rude and crude and funny. It’s def a more adult show. I’m not a Matthew Perry fan and I don’t like any shows he’s starred in post Friends. This month it was announced that a third season of Episodes has been commissioned for 2013.

  19. tp says:

    I live on the west coast. I am in the target demo and have 2 daughters that are also. All three of us watch NCIS. I also know plenty of people that watch it. Does it really matter where the people that watch it live?

  20. Jenn says:

    And TvGuide (sorry tvline) it was their most checked in show for last night. Of course that was only the 40 states between the ten on t he coasts.

  21. GK says:

    I liked The Mindy Project. I hope that and Go On stays strong. I’ve to watch Vegas later.

  22. guest says:

    YES! Love NCIS!! So excited for SeasonX and the live tweeting last night by much of the cast just made tuning into the first episode a lot more fun! :)

  23. Dizzle says:

    I still don’t understand why NBC kept Parenthood on Tuesdays. By the looks of things, 10pm is wide open for a new young-skewing show to come in after The Voice and their comedies. Parenthood’s audience at this stage won’t improve, but won’t drop either – why not shift it to Thursday at 10? It’ll do better busines there than anything they’ve tried over the last few years.

  24. John says:

    Got home late, watched NCIS:L.A. first (I time shift everything anyway) as I’ve grown to prefer it and then watched NCIS and found, to my pleasure and surprise, that it was better than my impression from the last season. Hope they keep it that fresh.

    Though I do admit both are ones I feel safe recording on my lower capacity DVR as I know I will get to them within the week, unlike some.

    • NCIS:LA has quickly become my favorite, too. I find it much more dynamic than NCIS, and the characters much more likable! :) Funny, that tends to happen with spin-offs. CSI:NY is my favorite favorite CSI :)

  25. Meg says:

    New Girl was soooo good! Both episodes were hilarious! I love the Nick and Jess dynamic. Schmidt was amazing as always. Even Winston was pretty funny. Ben & Kate was pretty good too. Not sure how I feel about The Mindy Project. That one seems really predictable – she ends up with the divorced doctor, who actually really loves her so he acts like a d-bag.

  26. tahina says:

    I watched Vegas, not im not senior, mid 30’s actually-and enjoyed the plot,and the cast is terrific- Carrie Ann looks very beautiful-reminded me of someone–oh yeah, Cuddy from House– Dennis Quaid a bit rugged face. I blamed it to the scorching Nevada desert, and M Chiklis- great and scary as a merciless mobster. Bet the show along with Elementary will be some of the first to be renewed. :)

  27. Great actors all of them

  28. Natalie says:

    Thanks for doing this, Matt. Loved NCIS last night. It lived up to my expectations and then some. Glad it did so well in overall viewers and the demo. Pretty impressive that it beat “The Voice”. Also enjoyed “New Girl” last night, though I love CeCe and Schmidt together. Haven’t watched “Go On” yet. Plan on doing it tonight. Tried out “Vegas”, which seemed like your average procedural, with some major acting chops involved. I’m typically not into procedurals unless there’s something more to draw me in, because all the mysteries of the week don’t interest me, unless they have something more to make me want to come back. I watch NCIS because I love the family aspect and I enjoy Tiva, for example. On first viewing, this show doesn’t have anything like that to draw me in. But I’m gonna give it a couple more tries to be sure.
    Thanks again,Matt, for all the great work you do. :)

  29. Michie says:

    I love ncis, i think its a fantastic show, i dont agree that the show is only for those who are above 50. Im 18 and started watching it when i was about 15 or 16. Their characters are well defined and developed over time and i think thats what make us viewers able to connect with the characters.

  30. jenn says:

    I adore Go on and New girl, shame it’s on at the same time.

  31. Im sad to see Private Practice only get 6 million viewers when it can get so much more on tuesday night, oh well, I hope this will be the final 13 episode. I love this show but without Addison this show ratings will go lower. Plus I want my Body of Proof back which can make 10 million on that timeslot.

    I feel bad for Go On and New Normal, they were doing so well, NCIS has been on for so long but yet so many people watch it.

    I am also worry for Parenthood dropping to 4 million after being 5 million the last two episode.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      No, PARENTHOOD was at 4.8 million, virtually matching last week’s audience.

      • Zai says:

        The premiere was 5.48 so there has been quite a drop in ratings. For the first time in its history the show could very well sink to 3 mil in ratings.

        It will likely get a 5th season though.

    • They effed up Private Practice by changing it to Tuesday, to give place to scandal, because Shonda needed to make place for her black lead. She’s so blindsided by this race thing, argh!

  32. Julia says:

    I don’t understand why NCIS is never nominated for any major awards. I’m not saying it should get awards because it gets a monstrous amount of viewers. But that amount of viewers only proves how great a show it is. I think the acting, writing, and directing are all fantastic. The writing alone should be winning Emmys!

  33. AymieJoi says:

    I’ve watched NCIS from day one when I was 18 and haven’t missed an episode. I too think the cast and crew are so highly underrated by the powers that be, and it has nothing to do with the number of viewers. Michael Weatherly, for example, has put on some stellar performances and has an incredible range, which has gone mostly unnoticed.

    Last night’s episode exceeded my expectations (in spite of the gag-worthy, forced elevator scene), but I think I’ve said that about every premiere. And finale. And a vast majority of the episodes. Just when I think the show can’t get better, I’m blown away again.

  34. suzi says:

    I’m glad to see so many young fans of NCIS speaking up. Our whole family enjoys the show. The tired argument that only older people watch CBS just isn’t true. However, those of us older than 49 certainly count.

  35. camber says:

    i love NCIS and i’m happy they opted(i hope) not to bring back jaimie lee curtis. she was absolutely AWFUL.

  36. estefania says:

    thanks so much Matt for info, NCIS deserves one EMMY ,no for great ratings, but wonderful and talented actors and Crew has , EMMY hasn’t been appreciate IT

  37. Joe Petitjean says:

    You can not Beat NCIS

  38. Darcy says:

    hope Parenthood can continue to soldier on…I love that show!

  39. arial2 says:

    I think NCIS attracts a diverse viewership: Mark Harmon was a college football star (UCLA) whose dad won the Heisman Trophy and was one of the greatest college football coaches of all time (Tom Harmon), so athletes can identify with him, even if he isn’t a member of the exalted 18-49 demographic. Tony and Ziva hold the promise of romance, so those interested in beautiful people involved in relationships can find something of interest. Abby and Tim (and Jimmy Palmer, now a regular) are brilliant technical people, so those who like computers and science have characters they can like. Older viewers have Man From Uncle’s Ilya Kuryakin, David McCallum, as Ducky, so that group is covered (also, most probably remember Mark Harmon from his quarterback days at UCLA, plus his long marriage to the iconic Pam Dawber, Mindy in Mork and Mindy). And it’s all about the military, so those who like military stories are also covered. Regarding Emmy nominations, I think the cast has shown over and over that they are a marvelous ensemble, so an Emmy nom for that category shouldn’t be insulting to Emmy voters.

    • Dani says:

      Bravo, arial2. You are one of the ONLY ones I know who has ACCURATELY described the all-important Demographic RANGE of NCIS. It appeals to the MASSES; THAT is why it is so popular. There is something for EVERYONE. Gibbs has “his” older crowd along w/ Ducky; McGee & Abby have their “tecchy”, geek crowd, and Tony & Ziva most DEFINITELY have their young, hot-blooded, 18-49 crowd who LOVE the “romance” stuff. You HAVE to have “beautiful” people, and hot romance, and humor, and an occassional “Clash of the Titans” (Gibbs vs. Vance) – and of course very good scripting – in order to STAY interesting. If any one of these elements ceased to exsit, NCIS would have dropped off the air a long time ago.

  40. Kasper says:

    I’m really taking a liking to Go On. I hope the numbers continue to be this good and it gets renewed for a second season.

  41. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Hey, last night’s episode of New Girl was the one with Arlo from Justified! Hi Arlo! I’ve missed ya, you crotchety old man. I dearly hope he shows up next season. I’m a tad concerned since killing a cop is something that can get you put away for life. I like the show best when crazy-as-a-fox Arlo is running around Harlan making trouble.

  42. Svenja says:

    NCIS delivered. It deserves these ratings :) proud to call it my favourite show. I am really happy about these ratings. Best cast and crew in the industry