Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, appeared in only four episodes of NCIS season 19 before leaving the show. The “most-watched drama” on television has since moved on, with a new leader in place — Gary Cole’s Alden Parker. However, the long-running CBS procedural’s ratings have taken a noticeable dip since Harmon’s departure. Is season 20 of NCIS in jeopardy as a result of this..?
Mark Harmon appeared in over 400 episodes of ‘NCIS.’
Harmon first appeared as Gibbs in two episodes of the CBS show JAG in 2003, which served as a backdoor pilot for NCIS. The show premiered that fall, and Harmon appeared in over 400 episodes over the course of 18 seasons.
NCIS was the highest-rated drama on network television at the time. At its peak, the show drew more than 13 million viewers per episode. NCIS was still averaging more than 10 million viewers by season 18. However, those figures have begun to fall significantly since Harmon’s departure in Season 19, Episode 4 “Great Wide Open.”
Gibbs and McGee (Sean Murray) traveled to Alaska to investigate a case in that episode. Gibbs had found some peace by the end and had decided to stay behind. He returned McGee to NCIS headquarters in Washington, D.C., without him.
Is his departure jeopardizing ‘NCIS’ season 20?
So far, the ratings for NCIS season 19 are the lowest they’ve been since the show’s inception. The season opener drew 8.45 million viewers. However, as the season has progressed, those figures have continued to fall.
The most recent episode, “First Steps,” aired on March 7 and drew only 7.43 million live viewers. This represents a 25% decrease from the average ratings for the previous season. Those figures still place NCIS at the top of the Monday night network broadcast ratings. However, as viewers continue to abandon NCIS, the show’s future is in jeopardy.
There is a chance, however, that those figures will rise when DVR/streaming data is included. However, it is obvious that Harmon’s departure has had an impact on viewership. Not to mention that a series’ viewership tends to dwindle as it progresses through its run.
Networks announce their renewals and cancellations during the months of March and April. As a result, fans should find out soon whether NCIS will return for season 20.
Fans predicted that if Mark Harmon left, they would follow.
According to Express, following his departure from NCIS, Harmon signed a one-year contract that would allow him to appear in a “limited capacity.” This did not sit well with some fans, who warned that if Harmon left, they would stop watching. “There is no NCIS without Gibbs,” as one fan put it.
“I’ve seen every episode.” I’ve seen Kate, Ziva, Tony, Abby, and even Bishop come and go, but NCIS is Gibbs. “He goes, I go,” one disgruntled fan tweeted.
“I loved the ending for Gibbs, and I won’t watch any more NCIS,” said another. That ending was perfect; it’s where the season should have ended. “It’s certainly bittersweet.”
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