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The most popular star in primetime is...

NCIS

(CBS)

For anyone who can’t get enough of those feisty naval investigators, this information should not come as a surprise: The most popular actor in primetime right now is NCIS’ Pauley Perrette!

That’s according to the latest Q Ratings, a survey taken a few times a year to judge who are the most popular stars, based on audience awareness. In fact, NCIS actors occupy most of the top slots, save Nathan Fillion, the star of ABC’s Castle. The geek god is ranked No. 6.

So who’s after No. 1? Next up is Cote de Pablo, who plays Ziva on the CBS drama. No. 3 is Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory, No. 4 is NCIS lead Mark Harmon, No. 5 is David McCallum (Dr. Donald Mallard), and No. 7 is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, aka Michael Weatherly.

Q ratings come in handy when networks want to gauge whether an actor is worth the time (and money) to cast and/or keep on the payroll. So expect at least 20 more seasons of NCIS.

Kidding! (We think).

Originally posted August 3 2011 — 2:53 PM EDT

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