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).