'NCIS: New Orleans' Fans Are Desperate to Know Why the Show Got Canceled

·3 min read
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive

It's the end of an era for Special Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula).

Just as the cast and crew of NCIS: New Orleans were filming the current season's 13th episode this February, the team received some awful news: CBS had decided that season 7 would be the last for the crime series.

"It was painful," co-executive producer Jan Nash told TV Insider. "But it was a blessing to have enough time to make adjustments and a finale that feels very true to New Orleans."

According to Scott himself, bidding farewell to the series was a rather unique experience because of the ongoing pandemic. "The last episode of a seven-year series has all kinds of light shining on it," he explained to the outlet. "People gave speeches, bumped elbows. They had their masks on. It was bittersweet: We shot 16 episodes and are proud of the season, but it was goodbye — and from a distance."

Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive

Upon hearing the news, fans immediately started to complain and yearn for an explanation from CBS. "I don't understand why NCIS New Orleans was canceled," one fan tweeted. "my quarantine show got canceled :( rip ncis: new orleans," another said. "@ScottBakula, I don't know how to save NCIS New Orleans but I don't want the show to ever end! I don't want NCIS New Orleans to be canceled! I LOVE THIS SHOW! You guys rock!!!" a different fan tweeted at Scott.

Why is NCIS: New Orleans getting canceled after season 7?

Though CBS executives have not explicitly explained their decision to pull the plug, the cancellation likely came down to two factors — falling ratings for NCIS: New Orleans and the upcoming NCIS: Hawaii project.

Though NCIS: New Orleans put up a good ratings fight against the super competitive time period that Sunday Night Football often dominates, the show never could match the levels of its predecessors NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, which have been around since 2003 and 2009, respectively. Between season 6 and season 7 of NCIS: New Orleans, Nielsen figures showed season 7 having a 21% ratings drop in the 18-49 age demo and a 23% viewership drop off, leaving the current season with an average of 4.9 million tuning in each week.

Last year, the show averaged 6.3 million, while the first season of NCIS: New Orleans had averaged 15.3 million by comparison. Meanwhile, roughly 9.5 million still tune into the flagship NCIS, which was renewed by CBS for a 19th season. Finally, there's NCIS: Los Angeles, which attracts on average 5.6 million viewers per week (even in its 12th season).

What's more, it appears CBS is shifting its resources and attention over to a new NCIS franchise called NCIS: Hawaii, which is set to air this 2021-22 broadcast season. Both Jan and Chris Silber — who currently work on NCIS: New Orleans — will be executive producers and writers of the new series, per Variety. Meanwhile, Vanessa Lachey is set to become the lead character, Jane Tennant.

As for Scott, he's looking forward to spending more time with his family, including a grandchild on the way. Looking back on his time, he told TV Insider: "I’m grateful for Pride’s spirit, his love for New Orleans and the people. The stories were always amazing."

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