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'NCIS' To Give 'American Idol' Some Competition? - Featured

For eight seasons, American Idol has had a steady stranglehold on the top spot of the ratings totem pole. ABC reality competition Dancing with the Stars tried to give Idol some competition last season, but its efforts fell short, notching a few million viewers below the Fox juggernaut. This season, one show will once again try to pierce through Idol's mighty armor, and judging from the show's ratings history, it just might do so. CBS procedural NCIS , one of the few shows that registered a hike in the ratings amidst an overall slump, will try to challenge Idol's supremacy on Tuesday nights next year, says network bigwigs. "NCIS is Idol-proof," says CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. "Idol comes and goes, and NCIS pretty much holds its place." Now on its 7th season, NCIS has steadily been climbing the ratings ladder, from an 11.84 mil average in its debut run to 17.89 mil in the 6th, solidifying its grip on the number 2 spot. American Idol, on the other hand, has seen a dip in its ratings in the past couple of seasons. But its 30.4 mil average in the last season is still something not readily dismissible. NCIS is also being paired up this season with spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles, yet another arsenal from the CBS camp. The new show stars LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell, and is seen to help NCIS in its challenge to beat Idol. Source Here

NCIS: Pauley Perrette to Drop By 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

From the looks of things, it's not just Rocky Carroll who'll be doing duty when NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles return this fall. Goth forensic specialist Abby, played by Pauley Perrette, will also drop by the NCIS spin-off, showrunner Shane Brennan confirms. "She does a crossover and she's directly involved with helping us solve the case. It's a fun little cameo for her," Brennan said. "We have plans for her to perhaps be in more episodes. And perhaps not just her. I can't tell you yet." The first episode of NCIS: Los Angeles is set to take place around four months after the backdoor pilot Legends 1 and 2. Perrette will appear in two episodes. In other NCIS: Los Angeles news, Six Feet Under star Matthew St. Patrick will also grace the CBS procedural's rookie run, where he'll play a former special ops operative who gets involved in a case. Sources have yet to confirm, however, if St. Patrick's character will be one of the good guys or the bad guys. Source Here

'NCIS' on a Lookout for New Agent

Entertainment Weekly reports that CBS procedural NCIS is currently hunting for a new agent to include on its roster of operatives. The producers are reportedly introducing a new male agent in his 30s to appear on NCIS early next season in possibly recurring capacity. Names floated by fans include Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes fame, David James Elliott from JAG , Eric Close from Without a Trace , Kirk Acevedo from Fringe , Sean Maher from Firefly , or maybe even Gale Harold, who played Brian Kinney on Showtime gay drama Queer as Folk. Source Here

NCIS Exclusive: Rocky Carroll to Pull Double Duty on Spin-Off

Rocky! Rocky! Fans of NCIS director Leon Vance will find the coming TV season to be twice as nice, as Rocky Carroll will pull double duty on CBS' NCIS and its spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles . Carroll was promoted to series regular status on NCIS this past season, as Vance replaced the late Jenny Shepard as director. Moving forward, the actor tells, "I'll be keeping my normal routine on the 'mother ship,' and I'll be doing at least six of the first 13 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles." In a recent entry on his celebrity blog, Carroll said he had "a feeling that Director Vance will occasionally appear on the spin-off, just to keep an eye on things." Similarly, NCIS executive producer Shane Brennan told us, "Someone like the director of NCIS might end up having to work with the other agency [NCIS: LA's Office of Special Projects]. That could well happen." NCIS: Los Angeles stars Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J and Linda Hunt. The spin-off, which was introduced via a pair of May sweeps NCIS episodes, kicks off its first season Tuesday, Sept. 22 - where it will lead out of NCIS' own Season 7 premiere. Carroll's other acting credits include TV's Roc and Chicago Hope (for which he was twice nominated for a NAACP Image Award), and the films Crimson Tide and Born on the Fourth of July. This past spring, he received an honorary doctorate from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. Source Here

'NCIS' Prevails Even in Reruns, Plus Casting News for 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

While NCIS ' strong performance in the ratings is already a given for most fans, the CBS procedural is also quite formidable force in during rerun season, which recently went underway in June. CBS recently ranked as the most popular network for the first week of summer, but not because of its original programming, but thanks to reruns from top-rated NCIS and The Mentalist. This, despite the relatively strong showing of original Fox and ABC shows So You Think You Can Dance and Wipeout . For the week at hand, CBS averaged 8 million viewers, around 2.5 mil more than runner-up Fox (5.5 mil) and NBC (5.3 mil). For its part, NCIS has had a strong showing in the ratings since its debut, but it was in season 5 when it became a top 10 program, averaging 15.65 million viewers per episode. It bucked the trend of decreasing television viewership in season 6, when its ratings showed a slight upgrade in ratings to 17.89, good enough for the TV's fifth spot. In other news, NCIS spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles recently announced it will be joined by Academy Award-winning actress Linda Hunt. The 64-year-old actress will reportedly play a "tough, efficient department manager who gets government investigators the electronics and other crime-fighting tools they need." Hunt, a Morristown, New Jersey-native, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1982, in addition to a Golden Globe nom, for her gender-defying role on the Indonesia-set romantic drama The Year of Living Dangerously. The movie featured the pairing of Mel Gibson as Australian journalist Guy Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver as British Embassy officer Jill Bryant. Hunt played a male photographer, Billy Kwan, who helped neophyte Guy score interviews in the intense Sukarno rule. Both procedurals will debut on September 22, alongside rookie drama The Good Wife starring Juliana Margulies. Source Here

Ratings: One Week Into Battle, Dave Tops Conan's Tonight Show

On their seventh day of head-to-head competition, The Late Show with David Letterman squeaked past The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien 's , though by a slim margin - one half of a rating point. Still, Letterman's latest performance represents a 13 percent week-to-week gain, while Conan has dropped 42 percent since his Tonight Show debut. The Tonight Show's numbers, in fact, have declined every night since O'Brien seized the reins on June 1. To be fair, on Tuesday night he was hampered by soft lead-in numbers courtesy of NBC's NHL coverage. Letterman's guests for Tuesday were Julia Roberts (who told her host, "You are so much funnier than other people who talk at this time of the evening") and the Black Eyes Peas, while O'Brien welcomed Eddie Murphy, The Office 's Angela Kinsey and Bonnie Raitt. The last time Dave topped The Tonight Show was on consecutive nights in mid-October 2008, with guests John McCain and Tina Fey. Elsewhere on Tuesday: * ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals averaged 9.6 mil, while NBC's NHL Stanley Cup broadcast scored 5.45 mil. Both sporting events got beat by CBS repeats of NCIS and The Mentalist (the non-jock in me must point out). * Fox's Mental - featuring a dialogue-free guest-star turn by David Carradine - delivered 4.83 million total viewers, dipping 210K. Source Here

Ratings: Aw, Hell! Reaper Surges in Send-off - Featured

How Tuesday's fresh fare fared: * 8 pm/ET NBC's Funniest TV Phrases special (6.6 million total viewers) placed a distant second behind an NCIS rerun. Yada, yada, yada.... The penultimate batch of According to Jim came in fourth, averaging 3.7 mil. Reaper wrapped up its second and likely final season with a 430K gain, hitting 2.22 mil. *9 pm Fox's Mental debuted in third place, with 5.8 mil. Because you were about to ask: Although Mental shares 58 percent of The Mentalist 's title, it only managed 47 percent of the CBS drama's repeat audience. You were going to ask, right? ABC's Diamonds mini caught the eye of 3.1 mil, while The CW 's Hitched or Ditched was largely the latter, premiering to a scant 1.46 mil. *10 pm A repeat of the canceled Without a Trace easily topped a not-new SVU and Diamonds with 9.6 mil. Salt, wound! Source Here

The Mentalist Rookie of the Year!

Simon Baker's The Mentalist emerged the most-watched rookie show from the 2008-09 season, Variety reports. The CBS show, paired with the Top 10 show NCIS, regularly retained almost 100% of that series' audience and was the sixth most watched series in terms of total viewers. With a season average of 17.5 million viewers, The Mentalist - about a former con man turned "consultant" for the California Bureau of Investigation - is the most popular new series since Desperate Housewives came out in 2004. Baker has also been receiving good notices for his performance as Patrick Jane, a keen observer of human behaviour/nature who uses those insights to solve mysterious murders. The character is typically played light, but has a dark undertone: he is haunted by the deaths of his wife and daughter, slain by a serial killer named Redjohn who took offence with something Jane said from the days when he was posing as a TV psychic. For the 2009-10 season, CBS is considering moving the show to a new timeslot or day to stand on its own (and possibly, prop up another rookie series). Source

Ratings: Did Glee Sing? Plus: NCIS and Other Finales

Tuesday's tallies: * 8 pm/ET American Idol 's final Season 8 sing-off delivered 23/07 million total viewers, up 6 percent week-to-week. NCIS ' season-ender (poor Ziva...) netted 16.09 mil, up 210K. Reaper 's likely penultimate episode drew 1.79 mil, down 200 thou. * 9 pm The Dancing with the Stars finale tangoed with 20.12 million viewers, on par with the show's year-ago disco ball hand-out. The Mentalist concluded its freshman run with 16.84 mil, up 720K. Fox's Glee debuted to 10.75 mil 1 and needs to resume its first season, like, yesterday! Fox notes that Glee was Tuesday night's No. 1 Twitter topic, while New Directions' version of "Don't Stop Believin" emerged as the No. 2 most downloaded song on iTunes. 90210 's school year came to a close with an audience of 2.09 mil. * 10 pm Lagging far behind DWTS, Without a Trace bowed out - for good - before a crowd of 11.32 mil, dropping 16 percent week-to-week. Source Here

Carroll to Tiva Fans: Be Careful What You Wish For on 'NCIS'

As NCIS wraps up its sixth season with a purportedly very secret ending, recent addition Rocky Carroll, who plays Director Vance on the top-rating procedural, hinted that Tiva fans may be riled up by the finale, which executive producer Shane Brennan previously described as both "jaw-dropping" and "stunning." "That's what I said on my blog," Carroll said. "My statement to the Tiva fans was, 'Be careful what you wish for!' Because now you're getting Tiva to the tenth power." Asked regarding the speculations that Ziva (Cote de Pablo) might be working undercover either for Vance or her father, Carroll evaded the question readily. "You've had conversations with Shane, so you know he likes that. It raises questions. I grew up in the theater and I was always told that a good story should raise more questions than provide answers, and that's what we're doing here." Carroll, 45, did confirm that the filming of the finale was highly guarded, reminiscent of last season's finale when he had the only scene with Mark Harmon, and the scene was very crucial to the cliffhanger. "No, I did not get to see that script," he said, in reference to the finale script, of which there was reportedly only one copy. "But I was the recipient of that same "cloak of secrecy" last season, since I was the only one in that [cliffhanger] scene with Mark [Harmon]. It basically speaks to the times we live in, because people have access to the world through their handheld phones." In other Carroll news, the actor was recently conferred an honorary doctorate degree from his alma matter Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. "It was terrific. I hadn't been back to Webster in over 20 years, so I got see a lot of the educators who are still there. And speaking in a 10,000-seat outdoor arena at the Municipal Opera in St. Louis, you couldn't have scripted it better." Source Here