Is ‘NCIS’ Season 20 Happening? What the Ratings Say

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • CBS has not renewed NCIS for season 20 yet.
  • Following Mark Harmon’s departure and a move to Monday nights, the ratings took a bit of a hit.
  • Is another NCIS star following Harmon out the door?
Wilmer Valderrama as NCIS Special Agent Nicholas Nick Torres, Gary Cole as FBI Special Agent Alden Parker
Wilmer Valderrama and Gary Cole on ‘NCIS’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

NCIS is closing in on the end of season 19, still touted as TV’s “most-watched” drama. But in the wake of Mark Harmon’s (Leroy Jethro Gibbs) exit from the series, the viewership has started to drop. Here’s what the ratings say about a possible NCIS season 20.

CBS has not yet renewed ‘NCIS’ for season 20

March and April is the time of year when broadcast networks reveal their renewals for the next TV season. And CBS has already made a number of announcements. According to TVLine, CBS has ordered more seasons of Bob Hearts Abishola, CSI: Vegas, Ghosts, The Neighborhood, and Young Sheldon.

They’ve also renewed a number of reality shows, like The Amazing Race, Survivor, Tough as Nails, and Secret Celebrity Renovation. However, NCIS has yet to make the list of renewals. The same thing goes for spinoff NCIS: Hawai’i.

Is another season coming? Here’s what the ratings say

NCIS became the highest-rated drama on network television during Harmon’s run on the series. At its peak in the early 2010s, the procedural was averaging more than 13 million viewers per episode.

By season 18, NCIS was still averaging more than 10 million live viewers. But those numbers have started to fall significantly since Harmon exited the series in Season 19, Episode 4 “Great Wide Open.”

RELATED: Mark Harmon May Be Gone, But He Is Still a Major Part of ‘NCIS’

The ratings for NCIS season 19, so far, are the lowest they’ve been since the series began. It started off strong with a season premiere that attracted 8.45 million live viewers. But those numbers have continued to dip as the season has progressed.

The most recent episode — “First Steps” — which aired on March 7 pulled in just 7.43 million live viewers. Which is a 25 percent drop from last season’s live ratings average. However, those numbers still put NCIS at the top of the ratings list for Monday night network broadcasts. And they are likely to go up when factoring in DVR/streaming viewers.

Could another star be leaving ‘NCIS’ after Mark Harmon?

It’s clear, though, that Harmon’s departure has had an effect on viewership. Not to mention the move to Monday nights in a later time slot, and the fact that a series tends to suffer natural viewer erosion the later it gets in its run.

Still, the chances of fans seeing season 20 of NCIS are strong. Despite the falling numbers, the show did improve CBS’ Monday night ratings. Especially in that 8 pm Eastern time slot. Which makes it very likely that the procedural will return in the fall.

RELATED: Wilmer Valderrama Teases His ‘Next Chapter’ — Is He Leaving ‘NCIS’?

But when it does, there could be yet another cast change. In late 2021, it was revealed that Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) would be the next Don Diego de la Vega — aka Zorro — in a new reboot of the classic ABC drama that ran from 1957 to 1959.

It’s not clear when the Zorro reboot will begin filming, or if it would conflict with the possible production schedule for NCIS season 20. According to Valderrama’s IMDB page, his new project is currently in pre-production.

New episodes of NCIS air Monday nights on CBS.