Mark Harmon makes a quiet exit as a regular ‘NCIS’ on CBS

NEW YORK – The main character of the most popular television drama appeared on the show Monday without a hitch, and without the immediate collision rating expected if any.

‘?? NCIS ‘?? Star Mark Harmon, who has played Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs since the CBS drama began in 2003, had his last night as a regular character on the show Monday. Gibbs informed his partner after working on a case in Alaska that he would be staying there.

At Harmon’s request, CBS did not make a special promotion of the occasion, a muted departure for an industry that hasn’t been shy about moving big stars.

That may be partly because Harmon, 70, has not ruled out the possibility of an occasional return.

‘?? Our star in the north always stays true to our characters, and that fact always guides the stories we tell and where those characters go, ’?? Steve Binder said, ‘?? NCIS ‘?? executive producer, in a statement. ‘?? So as for the future of Gibbs, as longtime fans of the show have noticed over the years … don’t count Leroy Jethro Gibbs anymore. ‘ ??

The show on Monday saw an estimated 7.37 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. That number is expected to increase significantly once streaming and delayed viewing are taken into account, especially as word of Harmon’s exit spreads.

‘?? NCIS ‘?? became the most popular television drama in 11 of the past 12 seasons, the only exception being 2017-18, when the ‘?? This is Us’ ng NBC ?? is hot.

Yet it stands as a symbol of another era in television. While the 7.96 million live viewers who watched last week made, once again, the most popular TV drama, its audience is even older. Five other dramas have more viewers in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that advertisers crave, Nielsen said.

Nor does the show match the buzz or award potential of cable or streaming shows. ‘?? NCIS ‘?? has never won an Emmy for best drama. It was not even appointed. Harmon, similarly, was shut out in the best actor category.

NBC was the most popular network in prime time last week, with an average of 6.1 million viewers. CBS has 5.9 million, Fox has 5.3 million, ABC has 3.5 million, Univision has 1.5 million, Telemundo has 1.1 million and Ion Television has 910,000.

ESPN led cable networks with a 2.92 million average in prime time while Fox News Channel, on its 25th anniversary this week, reached 2.25 million. TBS has 2.21 million, MSNBC has 1.17 million and HGTV has 885,000.

Ang ‘?? ABC’s World News Tonight ?? won the trend of nightly news ratings with an average of 7.8 million viewers. ‘?? NBC’s Nightly News ?? there were 6.6 million and the ‘?? CBS Evening News’ ?? had 4.8 million.

For the week of October 4-10, the 20 most watched prime time programs, their networks and viewing:

1. NFL Football: Buffalo in Kansas City, NBC, 17.52 million.

2. NFL Football: LA Rams in Seattle, Fox, 14.76 million.

3. ‘?? NFL Season Delay, ‘?? NBC, 14.75 million.

4. ‘?? NFL Post-Game, ‘?? Fox, 14 million.

5. ‘?? NFL Pregame ‘?? (Sunday), NBC, 13.64 million

6. NFL Football: Las Vegas to LA Chargers, ESPN, 12.32 million.

7. ‘?? The OT, ‘?? Fox, 10.24 million.

8. ‘?? Football Night in America, Part 3, ‘?? NBC, 9.39 million.

9. ‘?? 60 Minutes, ‘?? CBS, 8.47 million.

10. College Football: Alabama to Texas A&M, CBS, 8.33 million.

11. ‘?? NCIS, ‘?? CBS, 7.96 million.

12. “Equalizer, CBS, 7.67 million.

13. ‘?? NFL Pregame ‘?? (Thursday), Fox, 7.57 million.

14. ‘?? The Voice ‘?? (Monday), NBC, 7.48 million.

15. ‘?? The Voice ‘?? (Tuesday), NBC, 7.21 million.

16. ‘?? Chicago Fire, ‘?? NBC, 7.18 million.

17. ‘?? Young Sheldon, ‘?? CBS, 7.118 million.

18. ML Baseball: AL Wild Card, NY Yankees of Boston, ESPN, 7.117 million.

19. ‘?? NFL Pregame ‘?? (Monday), ESPN, 7.1 million.

20. ‘?? Chicago Med, ‘?? NBC, 7.02 million.

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