Thursday, February 23, 2017

Best Case/Worst Case: The Blacklist: Redemption

Best Case/Worst Case lays out possible scenarios for broadcast primetime TV seasons yet to premiere. Here's what's premiering tonight!

The Blacklist: Redemption
Thursdays at 10:00 on NBC

Lead-in: Chicago Med (1.28 A18-49 this year)

This Year's Timeslot Occupants:
The Blacklist (1.08 A18-49)
Thursday Night Football (5.20 A18-49)

In a Nutshell: Three weeks ago, The Blacklist went fractional for the first time... just in time for a spin-off to premiere! The Blacklist: Redemption brings together three recurring players (including longtime regular Ryan Eggold) from the mothership as they, per press release, "try to regain their self-worth after a lifetime of inflicting damage on the world." It opens after a special 9/8c edition of the mothership tonight.

Best Case: The Blacklist still has a relatively solid audience, it's just that half of it is watching after the same-day window. Redemption is an opportunity for the franchise to actually become a promotional focus again, and that brings some of those viewers back to same-day. Also, the competition will get a lot easier after this week as How to Get Away with Murder wraps its season. 1.20, and settles a tenth or two higher than the mothership. It gets a longer order for next season and NBC actually carves out a two-hour space (either Friday or midseason Sunday) to air the two together.

Worst Case: The Blacklist is already struggling, so trying a spin-off at this juncture is just nonsensical. It's well below Blacklist's usual number even tonight and quickly falls to or even below Timeless' low. 0.56.

Likeliest: I haven't watched Blacklist since season one so I'm probably not the right person to be saying what its fans like, but my impression is this is not a very smart franchise to be spinning off. Even putting aside its low-ratedness, a big part of its original appeal was in James Spader's performance, and that won't be part of the mix here. I think when paired with the mothership tonight, it gets the 0.9 of a typical Blacklist episode, and then holds up well next week when a special The Voice will be leading off the night. But pretty soon after that it will drift down to a couple notches behind the mothership. 0.76. Blacklist itself is in a fight for survival, so I don't think an even weaker version will have much of a chance.

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