‘Tracker’ Leads Strong Mid-Season Premiere Week For CBS As Scripted Hits Return In Full Force

EXCLUSIVE: CBS is quickly returning to dominance on broadcast TV with the mid-season rollout of its scripted programming.

After a strong post-Super Bowl debut, Tracker held onto quite a large audience with 12.9M viewers tuning in for the second episode after seven days of viewing across broadcast and streaming. That’s about double the same-day audience of 6.9M for the second episode, which is still quite a large showing for the Sunday primetime hour.

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The series appears to be holding onto that momentum, too, as the third episode was up to 7.1M same-day viewers. In the seven-day viewing window, Tracker is up 73% from the viewing for that time slot last year with East New York.

According to the company, the premiere episode has tallied around 30M multi-platform viewers since its debut.

The second episode of Tracker capped a solid premiere week for CBS, as many of its scripted hits returned to the airwaves. In addition to Tracker, four additional series managed more than 10M viewers for their premieres in the seven-day window — NCIS (11.5M), Young Sheldon (11.2M), FBI (11.1M) and Ghosts (10.9M).

Blue Bloods, Fire Country, NCIS: Hawai’i, FBI: Most Wanted, and The Equalizer all scored more than 9M.

Of its 15 returning series, 13 managed year-over-year increases in viewership compared to their premiere weeks last season. Only Blue Bloods and Equalizer declined by small margins of 7% and 9%, respectively. It’s worth noting that many of these series premiered in the fall of the 2022-23 broadcast season, not the spring.

NCIS and Young Sheldon were among those with the largest year-over-year audience increases. With 11.5M viewers, NCIS was up 16% versus the prior season premiere. That seven-day viewing added about 4M viewers to its impressive same-day average of 7.3M.

As for Young Sheldon, the final season premiere drew 11.2M in the seven-day interval, marking an 18% increase in viewing versus the prior season. That’s about on par with the same-day viewing increase season-over-season, which was around 16% with nearly 8M viewers.

The Neighborhood and CSI: Vegas also managed double-digit percentage increases over their previous season premieres. After seven days of viewing, The Neighborhood managed a 12% increase to 7.1M viewers, while CSI: Vegas saw a 13% increase to 6.7M.

Overall, CBS is up 25% in primetime viewership on the network compared to the same two weeks in February 2023. The company reports triple-digit growth in streaming. This is of course due in large part to the return of scripted content, after a fairly reality TV heavy fall due to the dual writers and actors strikes last year.

Last year, CBS wrapped up its 15th consecutive TV season as the most-watched broadcast network, so it stands to reason the audiences would be eager for many of those scripted hits to come back.

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