Fall winners and losers: 'NCIS' reigns supreme; 'Dancing with the Stars' is most-watched reality show

2010-Fall-TV-StandingsImage Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC; Justin Lubin/Fox; Richard Cartwright/CBS; Eric McCandless/ABCWe’ve already seen the death of six new shows (Lone Star, My Generation, The Whole Truth, Undercovers, Outlaw and Running Wilde, though Fox hasn’t officially canceled the latter) as well as the departure of some old ones (So long, Medium! Looks like you’re out the door, too, Life Unexpected!) So it probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that HUT levels among CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC (that’s “homes using television”) are down 3 percent this year (from 39.7 million to 38.5 million).

Does that mean there weren’t enough good shows to watch on the Big Four this fall? Glee, Modern Family and The Good Wife fans would probably disagree, but it’s never good when so many freshman series tank before the holidays. Here’s how all the shows ranked in total viewers from Sept. 20 to Nov. 28:

1. NCIS (CBS) 21.3 million
2. Dancing with the Stars (ABC) 21.2 million
3. NFL Sunday (NBC) 20.2 million
4. Dancing with the Stars results (ABC) 18.5 million
5. NCIS: LA (CBS) 17.4 million
6. The Mentalist (CBS) 17.3 million
7. Criminal Minds (CBS) 16.2 million
8. CSI (CBS) 15.9 million
9. Two and A Half Men (CBS) 15.5 million
10. NFL Sunday pre-kickoff (NBC) 15.2 million
11. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 15 million
12. Modern Family (ABC) 14.7 million
13. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 14.6 million
14. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) 14 million
15. 60 Minutes (CBS) 13.9 million
16. The Good Wife (CBS) 13.7 million
17. Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS) 13.3 million
18. Blue Bloods (CBS) 13.25 million
19. Desperate Housewives (ABC) 13.22 million
20. Castle (ABC) 13 million
21. Undercover Boss (CBS) 12.8 million
22. Glee (Fox) 12.7 million
23. Mike & Molly (CBS) 12.6 million
24. The OT (Fox) 11.9 million
25. The Amazing Race (CBS) 11.7 million
26. CSI: Miami (CBS) 11.6 million
27. CSI: NY (CBS) 11.5 million
28. The Defenders (CBS) 11.49 million
29. $#*! My Dad Says (CBS) 11.48 million
30. House (Fox) 11.19 million
31. Bones (Fox) 11.16 million
32. Football Night in America (NBC) 10.8 million
33. Private Practice (ABC) 10 million
34. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 9.6 million
35. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 9.66 million
36. The Middle (ABC) 9.64 million
37. Brothers & Sisters (ABC) 9.4 million
38. Skating with the Stars (ABC) 9.3 million
39. Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) 9.2 million
40. The Office (NBC) 9.2 million
41. Rules of Engagement (CBS) 8.9 million
42. No Ordinary Family (ABC) 8.9 million
43. The Event (NBC) 8.66 million
44. Law & Order: LA (NBC) 8.63 million
45. Cougar Town (ABC) 8.62 million
46. Family Guy (Fox) 8.60 million
47. The Simpsons (Fox) 8.47 million
48. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC) 8.42 million
49. Better With You (ABC) 7.6 million
50. The Biggest Loser (NBC) 7.55 million
51. Medium (CBS) 7.53 million
52. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 7.2 million
53. Hell’s Kitchen (Fox) 7.06 million
54. Undercovers (NBC) 7.02 million
55. Outsourced (NBC) 6.75 million
56. The Cleveland Show (Fox) 6.73 million
57. Raising Hope (Fox) 6.7 million
58. Fringe (Fox) 6.69 million
59. Lie to Me (Fox) 6.60 million
60. Human Target (Fox) 6.59 million
61. 48 Hours Mystery (CBS) 6.55 million
62. Chase (NBC) 6.52 million
63. Hell’s Kitchen Wednesday (Fox) 6.51 million
64. 30 Rock (NBC) 6.50 million
65. Parenthood (NBC) 6.4 million
66. Chuck (NBC) 6.2 million
67. American Dad (Fox) 6.08 million
68. Dateline Friday (NBC) 6.04 million
69. ABC Saturday Night College Football (ABC) 6.01 million
70. Outlaw (NBC) 5.8 million
71. 20/20 Friday (ABC) 5.6 million
72. The Whole Truth (ABC) 5.5 million
73. Crimetime Saturday 9 p.m. (CBS) 5.4 million
74. Primetime: What Would You Do (ABC) 5.46 million
75. Community (NBC) 5.4 million
76. Crimetime Saturday 8 p.m. (CBS) 5.34 million
77. The Simpsons — Sunday at 7 p.m. (Fox) 5.33 million
78. Football Night in America (NBC) 5.2 million
79. My Generation (ABC) 4.88 million
80. Law & Order: SVU — Saturday (NBC) 4.87 million
81. COPS — Saturday 8:30 p.m. (Fox) 4.85 million
82. America’s Most Wanted (Fox) 4.81 million
83. Supernanny (ABC) 4.81 million
84. Lone Star (Fox) 4.5 million
85. The Apprentice (NBC) 4.52 million
86. COPS — Saturday 8 p.m. (Fox) 4.47 million
87. Family Guy encore (Fox) 4.45 million
88. Chase — Saturday (NBC) 4.2 million
89. Running Wilde (Fox) 4.19 million
90. Grey’s Anatomy — Thursday at 8 p.m. (ABC) 4.18 million
91. Outlaw — Saturday (NBC) 4.10 million
92. Modern Family — Friday (ABC) 4.019 million
93. ABC Saturday Night College Football pregame (ABC) 4.016 million
94. The Simpsons encore (Fox) 3.9 million
95. The Vampire Diaries (CW) 3.79 million
96. Law & Order: LA — Saturday (NBC) 3.76 million
97. American Dad encore (Fox) 3.5 million
98. America’s Next Top Model (CW) 3.3 million
99. Smallville (CW) 3.29 million
100. Human Target — Friday (Fox) 3.24 million
101. House — Friday (Fox) 3.04 million
102. Supernatural (CW) 3.02 million
103. The Middle — Friday (ABC) 2.97 million
104. The Event — Saturday (NBC) 2.95 million
105. Nikita (CW) 2.91 million
106. School Pride (NBC) 2.5 million
107. Hellcats (CW) 2.3 million
108. 90210 (CW) 2.05 million
109. Gossip Girl (CW) 2.04 million
110. One Tree Hill (CW) 1.9 million

Comments (163 total) Add your comment
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  • brent

    I think you need to correct that Modern Family is on ABC, not CBS as it says.

    • Jason

      Damn you Brent, I thought I was going to be first to call them out.
      We shall meet again, worthy adversary.

    • Kate

      They also put Chase (NBC) in there twice at 62 and 88!

      • Caroline

        thur the fall – chase was shown on two different nights, I think after they dropped on of the other shows. Fox did the same with House.

      • Jethro

        That’s because they run several NBC and CBS shows on Saturdays as repeats, and they were just providing us with the first-run and repeat ratings.

  • brent

    Oh, and first

    • Dave

      No, the other brent was!

  • Jason

    You call labeled ‘Modern Family’ as part of CBS. Change it to ABC, please.

    • Teresa

      sometimes that happens in real life all of a sueddn your mind goes off in flashbacks thinking of those you love that you lost or other times in your life this was well done

  • Tess McGill


    • Man In Black

      It’s idiots like you that are ruining TV for everyone else! Why don’t you watch something interesting for pete’s sake! Look at the top 10 – NCIS, NCIS LA, Mentalist, Criminal Minds, CSI… WHAT THE HELL’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM??? NOTHING!

      • Zach

        Thank you!!! If NCIS is so good, why does NOBODY on this site EVER talk about it? I seriously wonder if it’s the most popular show and not simply the show that the most households happen to technically have on when they’re doing their laundry or the dishes or taking an early nap.

      • Anna

        NCIS is tv’s #1 scripted drama, and not just because it’s on everyone’s tv when they are doing something… that’s what it’s reruns are for on USA… NCIS is the perfect mix of crime, drama, comedy, relationships, and so much more. The reason is is never talked about on this site is because Ausiello is gone… he used to talk about it all the time… if you think the Modern Family crap is quality tv or anything else, you need to watch the first episode of NCIS, the making of genius and everything that is Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, and Brian Dietzen (last three later…)

      • Clarissa

        It’s a fun show with great characters, so I don’t get what is so bad about watching it? How is watching it ruining it for everybody else? NCIS fans aren’t forcing non-NCIS fans to watch the show. We aren’t hurting anybody by watching a show we like.
        Not sure what you consider “interesting tv,” but I watch plenty. NCIS, Community, Modern Family, and 30 Rock are my favorites at the moment.

      • Will

        Well, if you’d actually watch the shows, you’d know the difference. NCIS stands for NAVAL Criminal Investigative Services, dealing with Naval related crimes/murders. CSI has to do with forensic science. Criminal Minds has to do with FBI profilers…

      • Man In Black

        You guys just prove my point. All these crime shows have the same crappy formula every season, every episode. Someone’s killed- solve the murder by the end! The biggest twist they can throw is – ‘aww shucks, it was just suicide…’
        All these people who watch these types of shows take away viewership, promotions, and screen time from other shows that try to be different. Whenever somebody tries to make a show that’s a little different and creative- they fall on their asses, because people are just busy watching murder of the week on CSI Miami.
        Why don’t you watch shows where you’d actually have to use your brains for a change? Watch Fringe, House, Supernatural, etc.

        I’d rather watch Supernanny before I ever watch a single episode of NCIS!

      • McProphet

        I concur. I find it so perplexing that CBS consistently has highly rated shows like NCIS, CSI, and Two and Half Men come out ahead of real entertainment like Modern Family, Glee, and hell even Undercovers. I think the Nielsons only get numbers from the nursing homes because I’m in my mid-twenties and the only CBS show my peers talk about is the new Hawaii Five-O.

      • psychoanalyzer

        Uh, yeah, I agree with Mr. McProphet above me. I don’t remember the last time I watched anything on CBS, and I am also in my mid-twenties. Maybe NCIS is an old people show? Sorry if I offend.

      • cb

        You’re a moron!

        You say watch shows that you need to use your brain on like house. Well hello I watch house and I love ncis. Get a life you fool no one is forcing you to watch ncis but don’t sit there and bag it either

      • Susan

        The reason for cable and four networks if you don’t have cable is for variety. If you don’t like a show, turn the channel, but don’t bash shows, like NCIS, and say they’re ruining television. I watched two episodes of NCIS when I realized how popular it was and I have to admit it was pretty good for this type of television program. Liked Mark Harmon and the supporting cast, so I see the appeal that it has. I don’t care for Sci-fi at all, so I choose not to watch that type of show. We all have different things we like or dislike depending on our age and our interests. I don’t watch Idol anymore, but I see the appeal for families that want a show they can watch together. Not everyone likes what you like.

      • Susan

        @Zach – you really can’t judge a show on whether this website covers it or not. You do realize only a fraction of the viewing public comes to this website, don’t you? I sometimes have to go to other websites or even the network’s entertainment websites or even the networks’ own websites. But there’s millions upon millions of viewers that do neither.

      • Svenja

        To all the persons, who would rather watch Supernanny than NCIS…
        I am actually a serial TV- show-watcher.
        House, Dexter, Lost, GA, PP, Gossip Girl and in the past I’ve watched Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse and co.
        NCIS is the ONLY “procedual” I am watching.
        Because it’s not what you think it is. There are major storylines in a season. There is constantly a huge character developement. This show isn’t about the cases… if you just watch 2 shows, you do not get the brilliance of it.
        There complex storylines that go through several seasons. And you do not understand this, if you do not follow and watch it as if it was a serial show.
        It’s ok not to watch it because you do not like crime. But you cannot possibly judge something you do not know. It’s not just a stupid case by case show that lacks brilliance. Actually I have to point out that this show has some of the most brilliant writers employed. Of course they cannot trump Joss Whedon, but they are still damn good.

      • Michael

        I hate NCIS, but I’m not going to ridicule someone for his/her taste in TV. We don’t all stare at the same painting and appreciate it. Get off of your high-horse.

        In my ideal world, shows like Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls would be still on their air and topping the charts. Oh well…

      • Ambee

        @Man in Black: I honestly don’t understand why someone can’t enjoy a quality procedural like NCIS. I would say House is a quality version of the medical case of the week drama – right?

        And I DO watch Supernatural and I just adore Fringe. I jumped on the ship late for Fringe, but I’m glad I did.

        And NCIS isn’t as mindless as you are trying to make it out to be. As someone else said, they have rather interesting character and story archs, and the acting is great!

      • Erin

        Man in Black – as others have said before me, just because we watch NCIS does not mean we don’t watch other wonderful shows such as Fringe, Supernatural, House etc. NCIS isn’t your average procedural. Just because YOU don’t like it does not mean it’s not a good show.

        Though on one hand I’m rather happy for the recognition it’s getting, on the other hand I’m a bit apprehensive as while the ratings have soared with millions jumping onto the bandwagon it seems to be at the detriment of the show. It has picked up this season but for a while there it lost it’s it factor and last season was rather mediocre as they seemed to pander to the fans more than usual.

      • Voodoo

        It’s not that I dislike procedurals (au contraire) but I just can’t see past the military propaganda on NCIS. Just like JAG it tries to be political, but it’s just a way to shallow a show to be able to pull that off.

      • Sally

        There is a difference between the criminal procedurals. Storyline, cast, etc, etc. I love NCIS and never miss a week. I like NCIS LA ok, but I’ve missed a few and don’t care. Can’t stand Criminal Minds – too gruesome. Used to like Mentalist but don’t like the Lisbon character. Don’t lump all the procedurals into one category.

      • Carrie

        Man In Black, totally agree. Anna, the NCIS pilot was utter crap. The show is crap. Same with The Mentalist. Depressing crap you couldn’t pay me to watch.

      • Jill

        @Carrie There’s a reason NCIS only became the “#1 Scripted Program” in its sixth or seventh season. The pilot wasn’t half as good as the series is, and the first few seasons were awkward while it was trying to find its footing. It started to find itself midway through season 2 or so, and really picked up steam by the fourth and fifth seasons.

        @Man In Black There’s a world of difference just between the characters, storylines and general tone of NCIS and NCIS:LA, let alone the other crime procedurals. Yes, at their most basic level crime shows focus on solving murders (though NCIS:LA focuses more on international terrorism, and Criminal Minds also deals with other serial crimes like arson and kidnapping), but that’s like saying all medical shows are exactly the same, which would lump House and Grey’s Anatomy in the same boat, a statement most House fans would tar and feather me for making.

        @McProphet I’m in my mid-20s as well, and no one my age watches Hawaii Five-O. The only people I know who watch it can remember the original. My friends watch NCIS, Criminal Minds, Big Bang Theory, and HIMYM on CBS. I personally watch more on CBS than any other network.

    • JC

      It’s not that NCIS is good (no different than every other CBS procedural), it’s just that CBS dominates because they play it safe. Nothing sexy about that channel at all. If it wasn’t for football on Sundays, I would never watch. It’s all procedurals or lame laugh track comedies, with the occasional reality show thrown in. The demographic is targeted for people who stay at home to watch TV most nights (ages 30+), so they “rule”. I want to see these “ratings” w/ DVR and online watching taken into account. Would probably be different.

      • Willona

        early in season 4 they had a long runnnig story with Tony going undercover as a college professor of pop entertainment his alias was Tony DiNardo, and he dated a nurse name Jeanne Benoit, who was the daughter of an arms dealer named Rene Benoit aka La Grenouille which is French for the Frog. When it was finally revealed Tony did have feelings for Jeanne but when she asked him if it was ever real he told her no,

  • Kate

    Where is The Good Guys on this list?? I know they aren’t doing that well – why, I don’t know, the show is hilarious – but shouldn’t they be listed somewhere?

    • good guys r dead

      the ratings r that bad that they dont even make this list. i like it as well but it is gone after next week for good.

    • Apasse

      John,Thanks. It is amazing how pepole rail on about how Twitter (and other social media elements) are the only and best tool out there. They are important elements in a good web marketing strategy, but they are not the silver bullets (I love the metaphor!!).Thanks for the comment John.

  • Lyss

    YEAH NCIS FOR THE WIN! Best show on television (:

  • Jay

    Yeah, “The Good Guys” isn’t even listed. I know the ratings are weak (your loss, America!) but it should at least be listed…

    • Jason

      I agree. The Good Guys is the best new show of the Fall Season. No doubt about it! It may even be the best show on Television. Fox should have teamed it with Glee rather then sending it too Purgatory Fridays!! Fox programmers are idiots they haven’t figured out that the people who watch young hip action shows like the Good Guys, Dollhouse, Firefly, Sarah Connor are out on Friday nights having a life. Of course they’re going to fail. They should put an old fogey show on Fridays like House and American Idol and they could have a huge hit on an open night!

  • tiva4eva

    NCIS and NCIS:LA as top two tv shows that are not reality! Way to go original creator Don Bellisario and current EP Shane Brennan! Those two men are pure geniuses! (Along with amazing actors and actresses who work on the show!)

  • Allison

    Hope Terriers doesn’t get canceled on FX!!

    • Nicotine

      My fingers are crossed that it’ll be renewed. The first season was pure genius. The last three or four episodes were some of the best television I’ve seen in years.

    • Jeff M.

      I agree Terriers is the best new show this year. FX has some great shows but alot of people dont know about them

  • Tara

    YAY!!! NCIS TOP THE LIST!!! HIP, HIP, HORRAY NCIS!!! NCIS is the best show ever!!! and i agree with my fellow NCIS fans who said that. Keep up the excellent work NCIS!! :) continue to make your fans proud!!! NCIS ROCKS!!!

  • Jacques

    Best show , best actors, best plot, best mixture of fantastic and human emotions=FRINGE! And most underrated , alas!

    • Jeff M.

      I wouldnt say the most underrated but it does get crapped on by the people that be. (people that watch tv)

  • Clarissa

    Really happy about NCIS! I just started watching it last season, and I’m hooked. It’s the one show where I don’t hate ANY of the characters so that’s a plus.

    • Toto

      I really disliked Lauren Holly when she played the director. I like Rocky Carrol [sp] much better. As for it being a procedural, as someone stated, I don’t watch it for the case. I watch it to spend time with some of my favorite characters. Same thing withy Castle, and Psych for that matter.

      • AJ

        I agree — those are the three shows I watch week to week, and they could be considered procedurals. But they tweak the format a bit and have such compelling characters they make it worth tuning in every week. I don’t understand the haters.

  • DeliciousStrawberryFlavoredDeath

    The “top ten” proves that Americans like their television bland, predictable, and dumbed down. Sad.

    • NO!

      You probably loved Rubicon and you can see where that’s gotten you.

    • Gus

      You’re so right, I mean lol, NCIS is like power rangers, the same thing happens every episode only with different guest character

    • Suzq

      I watch a wide NCIS but also enjoy many other programs.

    • Sue1

      What’s really sad, DeliciousStrawberryFlavoredDeath etc, is that you actually believe your opinion is the only opinion….or that you’re So much smarter than So many other people.

  • Ryan

    Seeing Parenthood and Community so low on the list makes me want to cry!

    • kevin

      Parenthood is the worst show ever.

      • Catherine

        Can’t stand that show when my roommate watches it I have to leave the room.

      • Susan

        So, Kevin, what do you think is the best show ever?

      • Not Kevin

        But, I’ll answer anyway…M*A*S*H.

      • Lisa

        The Wire for drama, All in the Family for comedy.

    • Mary

      Between the two of thm I think Community is more worth saving! Parenthood is the whiniest and most annoying show to ever grace television!

      • Ugh

        What a stupid, exaggerated comment concerning Parenthood. If you don’t like it,just don’t watch it.
        Other people do.

  • steph

    it still boggles my mind how Two and a Half Men manages to get that many viewers.

    • reason

      Right! I think CBS must have a monopoly on nielsen households.

    • Susan

      I agree – 2 1/2 men has an IQ RATING to match it’s title.
      Do like NCIS, well written and acted. CHUCK is filled with a slew of delightful characters….and some very good writing. Missing Allison Alder (sic) one of their writers… A show that is so far superior to 2 1/2 men it shouldn’t be even mentioned in the same sentence.

      • Jill

        Chuck is NBC, not CBS.

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