CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Peak viewership: Nov. 18, 2004, 31.46 million viewers
Lowest viewership: Oct. 9, 2013, 8.82 million viewers
If you haven't watched in a while, let us fill you in: Ted Danson from Cheers and Elisabeth Shue from Adventures In Babysitting are your leads, there are only three characters left from when the show began in 2000 (Stokes, Sidle and Brass) and William Petersen's Gil Grissom hasn't been on the show since 2009.
CSI: Miami and CSI: New York have come and gone, scads of other shows featuring crime scene investigations have followed and multiple law enforcement agencies across the country still wish this series didn't make forensic evidence look like the absolute answer in every potential scenario.But with an average audience falling from a peak of 26.3 million in 2004-05 to fewer than 12 million a decade later, why was this show cleared for a 15th season so quickly back in March? Because it's really hard to get 10 million or so viewers to watch anything anymore. Your kids are watching videos on YouTube and Vine that you'll likely never see in your lifetime. Even after switching from Wednesdays at 9 p.m. to Thursdays at 10 p.m. back in 2011, it wasn't getting huge competition. Consider that the National Football League's Thursday Night Football -- actual NFL football -- drew an average of 8 million viewers on the NFL Network last season. On Wednesdays at 10, it crushes other shows. It drew 10 million viewers on May 7. Second-place Chicago P.D. on NBC? 5.4 million. The NBA playoffs on TNT, at their peak, draw 6.2 million viewers on that night. CSI isn't the beast that it once was, but in a sad midweek tail-end-of-prime-time landscape, it's as good as it gets.