CBS dominates primetime ratings with ‘NCIS,’ ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘The Equalizer’

Woman holds a gun
Queen Latifah’s new CBS series “The Equalizer” finished third in the ratings for the week.
(Barbara Nitke/CBS)

CBS had each of last week’s five most popular primetime programs, topped by “NCIS,” to finish first in the network race for the fourth consecutive week and sixth time in the 21-week-old 2020-21 television season.

“NCIS” averaged 9.75 million viewers to be the highest-rated program for the second time in three weeks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Wednesday by Nielsen. “NCIS” is the only entertainment program to finish first in the weekly ratings this season.

“60 Minutes” was the only other primetime program between Feb. 8 and Sunday to average more than 9 million viewers, averaging 9.438 million viewers. The time-slot premiere of “The Equalizer” that followed was third for the week, averaging 8.212 million viewers.


“FBI,” which followed “NCIS,” was fourth for the week, averaging 7.729 million viewers. “Young Sheldon” was fifth, averaging 7.599 million viewers, most among comedies.

CBS also had the top-rated 10 p.m. program, the police drama “Blue Bloods,” 10th for the week, averaging 6.522 million viewers.

CBS averaged 5.22 million viewers for the week. The order of finish behind CBS was the same as the previous two weeks. ABC was second, averaging 3.84 million viewers, and NBC third, averaging 3.2 million. Fox was fourth, averaging 2.99 million viewers.

NBC’s “Chicago Fire” was the top-ranked non-CBS program, averaging 7.506 million viewers, sixth for the week. “Chicago Med,” which preceded “Chicago Fire,” was seventh for the week, averaging 7.292 million viewers.

Sunday’s two-hour season premiere of “American Idol” had ABC’s biggest audience, averaging 6.946 million viewers, eighth for the week.

The procedural drama “9-1-1” was Fox’s biggest draw for the fourth consecutive week, averaging 6.873 million viewers, ninth for the week.

The week’s only premiere on the four major broadcast networks, the CBS crime drama “Clarice,” was first in its 10 p.m. Thursday time slot, seventh among programs beginning at 10 p.m. and 35th for the week, averaging 4.002 million viewers.

“Clarice” retained 98.7% of the audience of the program that preceded it, the comedy “The Unicorn,” which averaged 4.054 million viewers, 34th for the week.


The MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show” accounted for each of the week’s five top-ranked primetime cable programs, led by the Wednesday edition which averaged 4.475 million viewers, 27th overall.

In each of the three full weeks since President Joe Biden was inaugurated, “The Rachel Maddow Show” accounted for at least three of the week’s five most-watched cable programs. It accounted for each of the top five the week of Jan. 25-31 and each of the top three the week of Feb. 1-7.

The order of finish among the top three cable networks was the same for the third consecutive week. Fox News Channel was first, averaging 2.513 million viewers, MSNBC second, averaging 2.496 million and CNN third, averaging 1.738 million.

“Bridgerton” returned to the top of the list of shows on the four streaming services whose figures are publicly released by Nielsen, while the previous No. 1 program, “Cobra Kai,” dropped to second.

Viewers watched 1.386 billion minutes of Netflix’s steamy eight-episode alternate history period drama between Jan. 11-17, returning it to the top spot despite a 17% drop from the 1.67 billion minutes watched the previous week, when it finished second, and 47.7% less than the 2.648 billion minutes watched between Dec. 28-Jan. 3 in the full week of its release, when it finished first.

“Cobra Kai” was the week’s other program to top the 1 billion minutes mark, with viewers watching 1.005 billion minutes of the 30 episodes of Netflix’s sequel to the 1984 film “The Karate Kid.”