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NCIS Season 20 Premiere Set A Very Bad Series Record

If there is one thing that CBS continues to benefit from, it is naval crimes. With an impressive three spin-offs and over 400 episodes to the flagship series, "NCIS" does not seem to be slowing down (via IMDb). The crime procedural first gained momentum as a backdoor pilot in the law series "JAG" but has since developed a recognizable legacy in its own right. Now entering its 20th Season, characters come and go, but the song remains the same. 

Season 20, Episode 1 of "NCIS" starts with a bang in an epic crossover episode with the sister series "NCIS: Hawai'i." Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) and Ernie Malik (Jason Antoon) join the main office as Alden Parker (Gary Cole) evades the FBI after being framed for murder. Just another day at the office. Luckily for Parker, two agencies are on the case, causing fans of "NCIS" to all say the same thing about the premiere. But while many viewers were enamored with the crossover event, the series' newest record tells a different story.

NCIS had one of the lowest premiers to date

Despite a long-standing and passionate fanbase, "NCIS" faltered significantly during its season premiere. In this age of streaming platforms, network television is not viewed with the same numbers it once was, and even a crossover with "NCIS: Hawai'i" could not gather viewers to their television sets. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the newest season set the record for the lowest viewership the series has ever had. And whether this has to do with fan-favorite Mark Harmon leaving "NCIS" during Season 19 or something else remains to be seen. But the most obvious culprit of these numbers seems to be Monday Night Football.

The Philadelphia vs. Minnesota game garnered 12.86 million viewers on ABC, a significant drain on primetime television. Both "NCIS" and "NCIS: Hawai'i" only attracted a little more than 5 million viewers, a substantial dip from previous seasons. "NCIS" is not the only casualty of low ratings due to sporting events. Even though the Emmys were moved from a Sunday to a Monday because of the premiere of the football season, it still suffered dismal ratings (via IndieWire). This does not consider numbers from the Peacock live stream but still calls into question the excessive competition between platforms and networks alike. With the game of content so competitive, there never seems to be an apparent winner.