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The fall season of the 2023 TV schedule is missing a lot of its usual scripted options due to the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike, ranging from solo but successful standalone series to the NCIS franchise. There will be some new NCIS content in the coming months, however, thanks to CBS bringing the Sydney-based spinoff over to the U.S. market to go with all the reruns of the original series. Now, NCIS: Sydney has already scored a win in what seems to be a big show of support from the network (and a throwback to earlier NCIS days).
The initial news about NCIS: Sydney coming to CBS broke in early September, with a U.S. premiere date scheduled for Monday, November 13 at 10 p.m. ET. Although airing that late might not work in favor of a brand new show, this seemed like a great fit, given that NCIS: Hawai'i aired at 10 p.m. ET on Mondays during the 2022-2023 TV season, directly after NCIS at 9 p.m.
The network has already made some changes that bode even better for the new show than just inheriting another NCIS spinoff's slot. The Sydney spinoff will now premiere on Tuesday, November 14 at 8 p.m. ET, which feels like a throwback to the 18 seasons that the original NCIS aired in that very slot.
While on the surface, that's bad news for viewers who want to see NCIS: Sydney ASAP and will now have to wait another day, but it's actually a great time for a brand new show. Shows airing in the first hour of primetime generally win bigger live audiences than those airing at 10 p.m., and that seems like the best way to get more people to try a new show, even if it's part of an established franchise.
Plus, during a normal TV season without strikes forcing delays, FBI is the show that holds the 8 p.m. ET time slot on Tuesday nights, and the flagship series in the FBI franchise is a huge winner for CBS, both live and in delayed viewing, with numbers that would be great for NCIS: Sydney.
In fact, at the time when the crossover between the three FBIs was announced earlier this year, the hit drama was averaging 11.3 million viewers across platforms in Live+35 totals on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Then, according to Nielsen ratings at the end of the 2022-2023 TV season (via CBS), FBI averages upward of 11 million viewers across platforms in Live+35 calculations. If NCIS: Sydney can earn even slightly comparable numbers, than Tuesdays were the right spot for it.
Of course, FBI being a huge hit for CBS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. isn't a guarantee that NCIS: Sydney will reach the same numbers, and the original NCIS is still the network's #1 show in all viewers above FBI at #2, but I can't help but feel that this time slot is great news for the Australia-set spinoff. After all, NCIS was running for two decades when it was winning the viewers to hold that #1 spot, and Sydney could use the boost of an 8 p.m. slot on a strong night.
Episodes of NCIS: Sydney on Tuesdays will be followed by encores of NCIS at 9 p.m. ET as well, so the original series will still have a presence. All in all, CBS is going as hard on the franchise as could be hoped in a fall season with a shortage of new content. The latest updates to the CBS fall schedule have two encore episodes of NCIS airing on Mondays, starting at 9 p.m. ET following new series Lotería Loca.
As for when the original NCIS and NCIS: Hawai'i will be back for their new seasons... well, that depends on when the strikes end! In the meantime, you can revisit old episodes of both shows streaming with a Paramount+ subscription and check out the first look at NCIS: Sydney.