‘NCIS’ finishes TV season on top; Lakers give TNT a bounce

Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon in "NCIS" on CBS.
Pam Dawber and Mark Harmon in the season finale of the CBS drama “NCIS,” the week’s top-rated program.
(Cliff Lipson / CBS)

The CBS drama “NCIS” ended the 2020-21 official prime-time television season at the top of the prime-time ratings for the fifth consecutive week and ninth time overall and was the only scripted series program to top a week.

The 18th season finale of the CBS action drama averaged 8.956 million viewers, the most for a prime-time program since the May 4 episode of “NCIS” averaged 9.679 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

In a week that mixed the final three days of the official season and the first four of the summer season, NBC had four of the week’s six highest-rated programs to end CBS’ four-week winning streak. NBC averaged 4.02 million viewers from its prime-time programming between May 24 and Sunday.


CBS was second, averaging 3.57 million. The season finales of “9-1-1,” “The Masked Singer” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” enabled Fox to end a 17-week streak of fourth-place finishes among the broadcast networks, averaging 3.03 million viewers.

ABC finished fourth, averaging 2.86 million. The CW again was fifth among the five major English-language broadcast networks, averaging 470,000 viewers.

The back-to-back season finales of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med” were second and third for the week, averaging 7.263 million and 7.259 million. The season finale of “The Voice” was fifth for the week, averaging 6.733 million viewers. What NBC billed as “Part 1” of the finale the previous night was sixth for the week, averaging 6.552 million.

Fox’s biggest draw was “9-1-1,” which averaged 6.346 million viewers, seventh for the week. A “9-1-1” episode was Fox’s most-watched program all 14 weeks it aired this season. “The Masked Singer” was 11th, averaging 5.51 million, and “9-1-1: Lone Star” was 12th, averaging 5.213 million.

The top-ranked ABC program was “Station 19,” 14th for the week, averaging 4.588 million.

The martial arts action-adventure series “Kung Fu” had The CW’s biggest audience for the sixth time in the seven weeks it has aired, averaging 823,000 viewers, 129th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

The week’s only premiere on the five major broadcast networks, the Fox dessert-making competition “Crime Scene Kitchen,” was 71st for the week and seventh in its Wednesday 9-10 p.m. time slot, averaging 2.353 million viewers following “The Masked Singer” finale.


For the second consecutive week, a Lakers game was the top-rated cable program, with TNT’s broadcast of Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns averaging 4.016 million viewers, 21st overall.

TNT’s NBA playoff coverage enabled it to end Fox News Channel’s eight-week winning streak among cable networks. TNT averaged 2.412 million viewers, 72.1% more than its 1.391-million average the previous week when it finished third.

Fox News Channel was second, averaging 1.906 million. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.307 million.

The Netflix fantasy “Shadow and Bone” was the most streamed program according to Nielsen’s latest report, with viewers watching 1.192 billion minutes of the eight-episode series between April 26 and May 2, its first full week of release.

Viewership was up 65.3% from the 721 million minutes watched during its first three days of release.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” was second ahead of all three programs in the latest Top 10 that were not in the previous week’s.


The other new entries in the latest Top 10 were the Amazon Prime Video action thriller film “Without Remorse,” fourth for the week with 760 million minutes watched in its first three days of release, and the Netflix computer-animated science fiction comedy film “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” ninth for the week with 516 million minutes watched in its first three days of release.