TV Ratings Friday: ‘NCIS’ and NFL Football


In a week that included the season finales of “The Voice” and “The Masked Singer” and the second edition of ABC’s re-creations of two of Norman Lear’s 1970s sitcoms, the CBS procedural drama “NCIS” was the only non-NFL prime-time program to average more than 9 million viewers.

“NCIS” averaged 11.094 million viewers, sixth among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Dec. 16 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

The episode was former cast member Cote de Pablo’s first announced appearance on the series since 2013 — she appeared unannounced in May’s 16th season finale — and its first original episode after back-to-back reruns.

The next most-watched non-NFL program was the two-hour opening portion of the two-night fall season finale of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” which was eighth overall, averaging 8.828 million viewers. Viewership was 7 percent less than the 9.49 million average for the similar episode in 2018.


The two-hour conclusion was ninth overall, averaging 8.67 million viewers, 12.4 percent less than the 9.897-million average in 2018.

Viewership for most forms of programming has decreased in recent years, in part because of competition from streaming programs, including streams of the same programs shown on traditional television.

The second-season finale of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” was the highest-rated non-NFL program on the network, finishing 12th overall and fifth among non-NFL programs. It averaged 8.371 million, 27.1 percent less than the 11.479-million average for its first-season finale Feb. 27.

“Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” staging live versions of “All in the Family” and “Good Times,” was ABC’s top-ranked program, averaging 5.657, 23rd overall and 14th among non-NFL programs. Viewership was down 45.5 percent from the 10.374-million average for the initial edition, which aired May 22.

Both “The Masked Singer” and “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” aired opposite cable coverage of the House of Representatives vote to impeach President Donald Trump in the Eastern and Central time zones.

The Democratic presidential debate on Thursday drew a combined audience of 6.173 million viewers on CNN and PBS, the smallest audiences of the 2020 campaign’s eight debates. The previous low was 6.613 million for the Nov. 20 debate that aired on MSNBC.


With CBS airing a rerun of “Young Sheldon,” television’s most popular comedy, “The Neighborhood” was the week’s highest-rated sitcom, averaging 6.444 million viewers, 17th overall and ninth among non-NFL programs.

“Bob Hearts Abishola” was the most popular new series for the second consecutive week, averaging 6.147 million viewers, 20th overall and 12th among non-NFL programs. CBS has had the top-ranked new series each week of the season.

The week’s highest-rated program was Fox’s NFL postgame show, which averaged 19.995 million viewers. NFL programming has been at the top of the ratings for all but one week of the 13-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season. That lone exception was when Fox aired Game 7 of baseball’s World Series.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 26-3 victory over the Chicago Bears on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was second for the week, averaging 17.028 million viewers.

The combination of four hours of NFL programming and five hours of “The Voice” made NBC the top network for the second consecutive week and the seventh time this season, averaging 6.15 million viewers.

CBS was second, averaging 4.95 million, followed by Fox, which averaged 4.27 million for its 15 hours, 59 minutes of prime-time programming. ABC was fourth for the 11th time this season, averaging 2.91 million viewers.

The most-watched cable program was ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which averaged 11.392 million viewers for the New Orleans Saints’ 34-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Dec. 16; it was fifth overall. “Monday Night Football” has been the most-watched cable program for each of the first 15 weeks of the 2019 NFL season.


ESPN was the week’s most-watched cable network after back-to-back second-place finishes, averaging 2.781 million viewers. Hallmark Channel was second, averaging 2.447 million after back-to-back third-place finishes. Fox News Chanel was third, averaging 2.139 million viewers, after finishing first each of the previous two weeks.