CBS Re-Ups 'NCIS'; NBC Scrambles

Just a quick note to let you know I am aware of the talkback issue from Tuesday's post and I'm working to see how to get it fixed. Hopefully, you will be able to respond to this and future posts.

Anyway, to the surprise of absolutely no one, "NCIS" was renewed for another two seasons by CBS, which also elevated star Mark Harmon to executive producer. It becomes the first show on CBS this year to earn a renewal.

What is a surprise is that the series -- in it's seventh year -- set a personal ratings record Tuesday with 22.85 million viewers, it's highest-rated episode ever. There was nothing special about the episode, no big guest stars or anything like that, and yet somehow "NCIS" continues to grow its ratings at a time in its cycle when most shows begin to lose viewers.

I attribute the growth a little bit to USA's decision to run an "NCIS" marathon last weekend from the beginning of the series. While USA obviously couldn't cram seven seasons worth of episodes into one weekend, it probably allowed some viewers who have heard about the series but never watched it a chance to jumped aboard.

That's one of the side benefits of syndication -- it allows viewers to pick up a show that missed it the first time around, and when it's a long-running series like "NCIS" that's still going even with its earlier episodes syndicated, it helps bring in more viewers.

More viewers is something NBC could use, especially since it announced "The Cape's" episode order has been cut from 13 to 10, never a good sign. It's lost about a third of its viewers since its premiere. The series that shares its timeslot, "The Event" has been pushed back a week, from the last week of February to the first week of March.

Meanwhile, NBC announced that "Friday Night Lights," which is currently airing on DirecTV, would be returning to the NBC lineup on April 15, a bright spot for people who are filing their taxes that day.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: With sweeps going, the networks are back in full swing. NBC's sitcom lineup is all new, as is ABC's soap lineup of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" from 9-11 p.m.

CBS has new episodes of "Big Bang Theory," "Bleep My Dad Says," "CSI" and "The Mentalist," while Fox airs a new "Bones" at 9 p.m. after "American Idol."

The CW has "Vampire Diaries" and "Nikita" from 8-10 p.m.

On cable, "Archer" (FX, 10 p.m.) is brand new, as are USA's series "Royal Pains" and "Fairly Legal" from 9-11 p.m.