How Many People Still Watch ‘NCIS’ on a Weekly Basis?

NCIS remains one of the most-watched shows on primetime television. Boasting a simple premise — yet intriguing character dynamics that keep bringing viewers back — the show is on its seventeenth season and counting. Showing no signs of slowing down, Mark Harmon (Agent Gibbs) and Sean Murray (Agent McGee) continue to lead the way, as the two cast members who have been with the show since the very start. 

NCIS Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo
“Capitol Offense” — Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

While others have come and gone — Pauley Perrette, Michael Weatherly, and Cote de Pablo (who recently returned) — Mark Harmon and Sean Murray have been with NCIS  since its wee days as a mere Jag spinoff. Sean Murray joined the show in its seventh episode — initially for a one-and-done appearance — and his chemistry with the other actors was undeniable, leading to a permanent stay. 

With Sean Murray and Mark Harmon carrying the show, is it still as good as it used to be? Do just as many viewers tune in today as they did 10 years ago? How many people watch NCIS weekly? Let’s dive into the numbers. 

An average of 11.652 million viewers watched season 17 of ‘NCIS’ in America

According to TVSeriesFinale, NCIS averaged 11.652 million viewers nationally this past season. Most weeks, 10 to 11 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, with higher numbers coming in at the beginning and the end of the season. 

Over 12 million viewers watched the first two episodes of season 17, while over 13 million viewers watched the last three episodes. Considering these are national numbers, it goes without saying that many more people tuned in to watch the show, as NCIS is a global phenomenon with fans spanning nations, as well as age, gender, and cultural demographics. Yet, this does not mean NCIS is still kicking like it used to. 

While 11 million viewers nationally isn’t necessarily a shabby average, NCIS used to draw in a larger crowd, especially when the heavy-hitter cast members all shared the screen. So, let’s compare season 17 to a few earlier seasons that came in the show’s middle-aged period. 

Season 9 of ‘NCIS’ averaged over 19 million viewers in America 

When NCIS had Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo and Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David in a whirlwind, will-they-won’t-they slow-boiling romance, the show was at its peak. Season 9 drew in over 19 million viewers on average, according to TVSeriesFinale, and some seasons even reached over 20 million viewers! 

NCIS remains a strong force in the crime procedural word, yet it’s not as strong as it once was. Many viewers stopped watching when Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly left (the latter’s departure led to a steeper decrease in viewership than the former’s). And, the show has dropped by about a million or so viewers nationally with each consecutive season. It’s unlikely that NCIS will disappear anytime soon because of its global following, yet the show is not the behemoth thatt it once was.