‘NCIS: Sydney’ scores strong series premiere on CBS and Paramount+

'NCIS: Sydney' scores strong series premiere on CBS and Paramount+
Credit: CBS

The expanding NCIS franchise has bagged another win in terms of viewership and overall audience reception with the international iteration, NCIS: Sydney. The series is an Australian military action television series that made its debut last week on Friday, November 10, 2023, on Paramount+ in Australia, along with the U.S. premiere on CBS and Global in Canada on Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

This has made the show its first international spin-off for the NCIS franchise, and it features local Australian actors and producers. The premiere of NCIS: Sydney with the pilot episode, “Gone Fission,” which is directed by Shawn Seet and written by Morgan O’Neill, was just another cherry on top! 

The episode premiere had a strong showing out of the gate on Tuesday night. It drew about 5.48M total viewers on CBS, making it the most-watched show during primetime across the broadcast networks, according to early Nielsen data. The episode was also live-streamed on Paramount+, where it was the top entertainment program on Tuesday “based on reach,” Paramount Global reports. 

To this, Paramount stated that streaming for NCIS: Sydney on digital platforms was up 71% in the average audience from the Season 2 premiere of NCIS: Hawai’i last fall. 

This is a good indication that the series has attracted the attention of the NCIS audience and possibly beyond.

The franchise had over 300M viewers worldwide in the 2022-2023 TV season across all platforms, including broadcast, cable, streaming, and syndication, making it the world’s most successful television franchise. “NCIS is one of the most popular series in the world and we’re thrilled to expand this franchise with a uniquely Australian twist,” says Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment. Moreover, Morgan O’Neill, who was also appointed as the showrunner for NCIS: Sydney, also stated: 

“There’s a strong demand in the international TV marketplace for stories that tell local stories authentically, and we’ve worked hard to ensure that our portrayal is both enlightening and reflective of life Down Under. We also have the advantage that Australia seems to hold a special allure to the rest of the world. 

Whether it’s our geographic remoteness, our plethora of things that can kill you, our remarkable First Nations history of 65,000 years of uninterrupted existence, or our easy-going nature, people from all over the world seem fascinated by our country. NCIS: Sydney offers them a portal into our neck of the woods within a familiar framework that they know and love. Seems to me we have all the ingredients to deliver a show that resonates strongly with an international audience.” 

About NCIS: Sydney

The official synopsis of the series reads as follows: 

“With rising international tensions in the Indo-Pacific, a brilliant and eclectic team of U.S. NCIS agents and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are grafted into a multinational task force to keep naval crimes in check in the most contested patch of ocean on the planet. Our team of Americans and Aussies must quickly learn to trust each other, overcoming and harnessing their differences to solve each case. Welcome to NCIS: SYDNEY.”

The cast members of the show include Olivia Swann as Michelle Mackey, Todd Lasance as Jim “JD” Dempsey, Sean Sagar as DeShawn Jackson, Tuuli Narkle as Constable Evie Cooper, Mavournee Hazel as Bluebird “Blue” Gleeson, and William McInnes as Roy “Rosie” Penrose. The series was created by Morgan O’Neill. It was executive produced by O’Neill, Sara Richardson, and Sue Seeary and produced by Michele Bennett.

On 16 February 2022, it was reported that the spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles producer Shane Brennan was attached to the project. The series is also set to premiere on Network 10 sometime around mid-2024. In addition to this, the second episode, “Snakes in the Grass,” which is directed by Shawn Seet and written by Michael Miller & Morgan O’Neill, and Stuart Page, is scheduled to air on Friday, November 17, 2023, on Paramount+ in Australia, along with the U.S. premiere on CBS and Global in Canada in the coming weeks on every Tuesdays at 8 pm.

The official synopsis of the episode states: 

“When a Navy compliance officer is found dead in a waterhole from a snakebite, the team works to uncover the origin of the rare, deadly taipan that is uncommon to the area where the officer was discovered.” 

Take a look at the official promo below: 

NCIS: Sydney 1x02 Promo "Snakes in the Grass" (HD) This Season On