Season 11 of NCIS has started in the USA. Usually, Channel 10 here in Australia fast tracks it. Not this year. This year we don’t even have an air date for it.
I think I know why.
Last season the ratings dropped considerably on previous years. I can think of a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, I think the casual viewer base dropped. Season 10 was very much a “fan” season. Too much time was tied up with back stories and character based stories that there was nothing there for the casual viewer. Fans drive a show’s popularity, but it is the casual viewer who drives the ratings. A lot of shows with huge fan followings don’t actually rock the ratings world.
I think the second reason for the ratings drop was the number of fans who illegally watched online or downloaded the show, not bothering to wait until NCIS aired here. Having already seen it, they didn’t bother to watch on television (with annoying commercials)… so the viewer figures went down further.
We are seeing the results of these behaviours now. The collective ratings are so low that Channel 10 has decided that it isn’t worth its while to fast track America’s most popular drama!
With the ratings season here in Australia ending within about 6 weeks, I will be very surprised if NCIS season 11 screens at all this year. It will most likely not screen until February/March 2014.
That’s if they screen it on the flag ship Channel 10 at all. By next ratings season Australian television will be all digital. It is entirely possible that NCIS could be shifted to one of Ten Network’s other channels: Channel 1 or Channel 11. Channel 11 makes the most sense, it is the channel they operate in conjunction with CBS. It’s currently the home of less popular shows, extremely old reruns, and encores of more popular shows.
Whatever happens, it appears that the glory days of NCIS in Australia are well and truly over.