NCIS is one of the most watched TV series in the world. Since 2003, it has aired 19 seasons and produced several spin-offs, the latest being NCIS: Hawaii in 2021.

But NCIS is the top dog and it's now six episodes into season 19. By now, fans are well aware of a massive change this season. The NCIS team has moved on from "Gibbs" (Mark Harmon), who exited in the fourth episode.

NCIS without "Gibbs" is unthinkable for many fans

"Gibbs" leaving caused a sensation and mixed reactions. Fans on Twitter were split between a "No Gibbs, no show" attitude and others who want to return to "the case-of-the-week" tradition and give "Alden Parker" (Gary Cole) a chance.

However, the great concern for CBS is that "Gibbs" exiting will be the show's downfall. And so far, the ratings are in fact falling — though not as much as you might think.

NCIS ratings are declining since "Gibbs" exited

According to TVInsider, the season 19 premiere of NCIS attracted 8.15 million viewers in the US. In episode five, a week after the exit, 7.39 million fans tuned in, perhaps curious to see who would replace "Gibbs."

Meanwhile, the latest episode drew only 7.1 million fans. These numbers also trail last season's average of 8 to 11 million and the 10 to 13 million who watched in season 17.

However, there is a small glimmer of hope. Even with the declining numbers, NCIS continues to be the most watched series on Monday night television.

We're curious to see how it all plays out. Otherwise, "Gibbs" might have to make a guest appearance to jumpstart the show and rescue it from being cancelled.

Season 19 will show episode seven on Monday, Nov. 8.