FROM CAMPAIGN US: “NCIS,” primetime’s most-watched drama, is celebrating a milestone: 300 episodes this week. With 20.4 million viewers at present, based on the Live + 7 Day data from Nielsen, and a confirmed renewal for a least two more seasons, the truly extraordinary ”NCIS” could probably last another 300 episodes. It has even been cited as “the most watched drama series in the world” for the last two years, according to Eurodata TV Worldwide and The Monte Carlo Television Festival.
The end is not near.
But like anything of a dramatic nature airing on CBS (including “CSI” in its heyday), the reality of “NCIS – despite the enormity of its success – is the lack of buzz. Millions of people are watching it, yet it never really enters the cultural conversation. You don’t go to Comic-Con and see a larger-than-life billboard featuring Mark Harmon and company. Nor is the proverbial watercooler buzzing with banter. And that begs the question: Is “NCIS” — and the countless other generic, but highly rated network dramas (“Law & Order: SVU,” the “Chicago” franchise on NBC or basically anything on CBS) — more beneficial to a broadcaster than low-rated critical darlings like “American Crime” on ABC? Or anything with a superhero?
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