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One Series Topped NCIS As The Most-Watched TV Show Of The 2023-2024 Season

After decades of ruling the scripted primetime Nielsen charts, "NCIS" has made way for a new drama.

Variety reports that the rookie series "Tracker" has become the most popular scripted drama in the land for the 2023-2024 season. Pulling in over 10 million viewers, the series is wildly successful, and just a big enough sensation to push "NCIS" down to second place. Other dramas that made the top 10 include "FBI," "Chicago Fire," and "Blue Bloods." Sitcoms were also well-represented, with "Young Sheldon" besting all but "NCIS" and "Tracker" and "Ghosts" bubbling just under the top 10.

"Tracker" focuses on the exploits of Colter Shore (Justin Hartley, previously of "Arrow"), an individualist and survivalist who uses his skills to track down criminals in trade for money. He travels the country in an RV with no direction home and works alone — but has help from Teddi Bruin (Robin Weigert) and her wife, Velma (Abby McEnany), and a whole host of others who threaten his loner status. Along the way, audiences meet members of his estranged family and come to understand why Shore is the way he is. It's a mystery that seems to have audiences hopping. 

The drama is so successful that it actually burst through a record held by another memorable drama.

Tracker is the strongest freshman drama since Desperate Housewives

Variety reports that "Tracker" is such a phenomenon it shattered a viewership record established by "Desperate Housewives" decades ago. It's the most-watched new series since the 2004-2005 season. That is quite a feat when broadcast networks, cable providers, and streamers are all staring at their bottom lines and figuring out what works and what will make audiences come back from week to week. "Desperate Housewives" garnered a nice, long run from that success and launched creator Mark Cherry's career; the jury remains out as to whether or not "Tracker" will be able to keep that pace up next season.

With the phenomenal success of "Tracker" in mind, one can look at Variety's chart and feel a bit flummoxed. "NCIS: Hawai'i" was canceled this season and "Elsbeth" was not, even though "NCIS: Hawai'i" had better ratings and ever improved season over season. Call it chaos caused by the SAG-AFTRA strike; call it economics at work. Any way you slice it, "Tracker" is one phenom and one lucky series — and fans should enjoy the ride while it's still there.