Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Breakdown: NBC Tuesday in 2016-17 (The Voice, This Is Us, Chicago Fire and more!)

It's time for a journey through the NBC Tuesday schedule in 2016-17...


2015-16Best Tim
e Ever
The Voice Tue FallChicago Fire137
2016-17The Voice Tue FallThis Is UsChicago Fire183 (+33%)
206 (+145%)210 (+5%)132 (+3%)

This Is Us started in its 10/9c previews with ratings that were not too dissimilar from where The Blacklist and Blindspot started in previous seasons. But after the move to 9/8c, it became clear this was something on another level entirely. Its presence gave NBC essentially a second hour of Voice-esque ratings, which makes for an incredibly dominant night.


2015-16Hollywood Game NightChicago MedChicago Fire101
2016-17The WallThis Is UsChicago Fire158 (+56%)
128 (+66%)216 (+101%)131 (+10%)

But on a year-to-year basis, the impact of This Is Us most stark in the winter months, as it helped the network stay afloat during The Voice's hiatus like never before. The Wall also gets a big shout-out for its mid-to-high 1's in this period, which goes way beyond what we would normally think of as "filler" ratings.


2015-16The Voice Tue SpringChicago MedChicago Fire125
2016-17The Voice Tue SpringGreat NewsChicago Fire109 (-12%)
155 (+4%)65 (-42%)107 (-5%)

But This Is Us only had 18 episodes, and things got rougher after it exited the stage with two months to go in the season. Not pictured is Trial and Error, whose episodes straddled the winter/spring distinction, but both it and Great News fared as badly or worse than other comedies that had this timeslot in years past. Chicago Fire had to do a lot more heavy lifting in the spring months, managing to stay almost even despite trading out Chicago Med for the much weaker and much less compatible comedies.

Rating the Ratings

The Voice Tue Fall*1.82.523.4-10%206megahit+7%detail
The Wall1.21.531.7125hitdetail
The Voice Tue Spring* hit+2%detail
This Is Us2.32.683.4219megahitdetail
Trial and Error0.60.921.475marginaldetail
Great News0.60.791.264flopdetail
Chicago Fire*1.21.521.8-14%124solid+3%detail

The Voice: Already updated.

The Wall: Perhaps The Wall was just an oddly strong fit with This Is Us, because it's never really looked too impressive in what we've seen of it in other timeslots. (Coincidentally, it's back tonight for a summer run, which will be the biggest test yet.) But I can't go any lower than a Grade: A- for managing to get to hit levels in the winter.

This Is Us: It was not a thrill ride on an Empire level, but the fact that it even gets in the same sentence is truly remarkable; it's still just the third megahit scripted newbie on record. Whether the NBC schedule is smart for the network is debatable, but getting left on Tuesday is definitely a good thing for TIU's long-term prospects. Grade: A.

Trial and Error: It had a much longer renewal sweat and will probably get a much worse situation for season two compared with Great News, even though it was a little stronger. Still, being a little stronger than Great News is not saying much at all, and it should be thankful just to get that second chance at all. Grade: C-.

Great News: I'm being a bit more generous after its 0.7/0.8 finale in the 8/7c hour, but overall it still goes down as a reach renewal with pathetic DVR numbers. I certainly don't see what justifies the red carpet that was initially rolled out for it in season two, though This Is Us staying on Tuesday makes it a bit less ridiculous. This renewal is purely a bet on future upside. Grade: D+.

Chicago Fire: It didn't get much help from This Is Us or much hurt from the late-season comedy flops, and we've seen that stubborn quality become even more pronounced over time. On pure trend I'm leaning toward B but I can't help but give it an upgrade because the numbers are so big in the ever-problematic 10/9c hour. Grade: B+.

The names in this last table link to the shows' War of 18-49 pages. Links with an asterisk(*) have been updated with the new info. Updates to younger shows will come later in the summer.

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for NBC Tuesday.

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