NCIS returned from hiatus to a series-high 22 million viewers on Tuesday, easily helping CBS win the night.
The drama's robust numbers helped spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles, which followed at 9/8c, pull in its biggest audience since the series' premiere in September 2009 — 18.1 million. CBS continued to dominate the night by garnering 12.2 million viewers for The Good Wife at 10.
NCIS isn't the only big ratings winner: Conan O'Brien is the late-night king among young viewers.
Citing Nielsen Media Research figures on Wednesday, TBS said Conan beat its cable and broadcast competition from Nov. 8, when it debuted, to Dec. 30 in the two advertiser-coveted demographics of 18-to-34-year-olds and 18-to-49-year-olds — when time-shifted DVR viewing is included (the so-called Live + 7 data, which counts viewers who watch a show up to a week after airing).
Conan averaged 1.44 million viewers aged 18-to-49, compared with 1.35 million for NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, 1.15 million for CBS' Late Show With David Letterman and 1.06 million for Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
TBS sounded ecstatic that Conan, along with its Lopez Tonight, has the lowest median viewer age — 33 — among all late-night talk shows. That skews substantially younger than The Daily Show's 42 and The Colbert Report's 39. For both Late Show andTonight, it's 56.
"Conan is just getting started on TBS, but the show has already proven to be a huge success in attracting a young, loyal audience," said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
He added that the company was "thrilled that the show is even younger than expected."
One caveat: the numbers might be a tad inflated by the huge curiosity-factor tune-in for Conan's premiere.
Elsewhere on network television Tuesday night, a new No Ordinary Family (5.4 million) and reruns of Glee (4.7 million) and One Tree Hill (1.1 million) provided little resistance to NCIS at 8. NBC's The Biggest Loser: Couples grew from 8.3 million to 9.1 million viewers from 8 to 10 p.m., finishing second during both hours.
At 9, V (5.8 million, down from 6.75 million for its premiere) and Million Dollar Money Drop (5.1 million, bouncing up 38 percent from last week) and a Life Unexpected rerun (804,000) trailed far behind.