Season 19 of NCIS, the highest-rated drama on television, has begun. However, there are concerns that the long-running series will lose its millions of viewers. Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, admits that taking a big step with the popular franchise was a big gamble.
CBS gives ‘NCIS’ fans first look at season 19 premiere
CBS has kicked off its promotional campaign for NCIS season 19 with a 30-second teaser that gives fans a first look at the premiere episode. Titled “Blood in the Water,” the season 19 premiere will pick up right where the season 18 finale ended – after Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) boat exploded.
As the promo begins, Gibbs’ team arrives on the scene, and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) asks investigators, “Did you find any survivors?” The answer is “no,” and the NCIS team is terrified. “Why did it take so long?” McGee (Sean Murray) inquires of a police officer before declaring that their boss is “family.”
Is Pam Dawber reprising her role as Marcie Warren?
The official description of the episode states, “When the NCIS team searches for Gibbs after the wreckage of his boat is discovered, they find out he’s been tracking a serial k1ller along with the journalist Marcie Warren (Pam Dawber) who wrote an exposé on him.”
The promo does not show Dawber returning as Warren. But there is a brief montage of Gibbs’ team fighting against time to find his boss. And with his fate unknown, his team is struggling. Cassie Hines (Diona Reasonover) hugs McGee and Vance (Rocky Carroll) looks worried. While the coroner Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) says, “It’s not going to end like this.”
Then, at the very end of the clip, NCIS confirms that Gibbs is alive. They show the former Marine sniper covered in blood and gasping for air as he emerges from the water among the wreckage of his boat.
CBS takes a big risk with ‘NCIS’ in season 19
NCIS has been the most-watched drama on TV for a decade (the only exception was three years ago, when This Is Us took over the title for a season). The series has been on the air since 2003. And for all that time, it’s always been on Tuesdays at 8pm (East Coast) in the timeslot.
However, for Season 19, CBS has shifted NCIS to Monday nights at 9 p.m. (Eastern). On Monday nights, instead of kicking off the network’s Tuesday night lineup, the drama will bridge a block of sitcoms (The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola) and the newest series in the NCIS universe, NCIS: Hawai’i. Kahl understands that this is a significant risk for the network.
“We hope to significantly improve the [Monday] time period and hope it can be a strong opener to launch NCIS: Hawai’i. [We also realize we can not take [the schedule change] for granted,” Kahl told TVLine at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “We have to educate people and let them know where the series is moving to.”
The network is using its NFL programming to get the word out
Die-hard NCIS fans may already know about the programming change. But there are also many who have not heard the news yet. That’s why CBS is using its NFL programming to spread the word.
In addition to airing the NCIS promos for the new Season 19 during the NFL games the network is airing in September, it has also added numerous network mentions. Viewers will be repeatedly alerted to the NCIS programming change while seeing the words on screen conveying that message.
NCIS” fans are a “die-hard bunch
With the move to Monday nights, NCIS will now air opposite The Voice, Dancing With the Stars and Monday Night Football. According to Kahl, it’s possible the series will lose its status as “most-watched drama.” But for now, NCIS still holds that title.
“Well, we have not lost it yet,” Kahl said with a laugh. “So we are going to hold on to it as long as we can. I have to say that the fans of the show are die-hard fans. So I do not think we are going to lose a lot of them with the time period change.”
If fans do not want to change their routine – and have their hearts set on watching NCIS on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. – all they have to do is subscribe to Paramount+. CBS puts new episodes of its primetime shows on the streamer the morning after they air. Another way to watch the series on Tuesday nights would be to set your DVR.