Monday, June 19, 2017

The War of 18-49, The Blacklist


The Gold Standard for Monday Voice Lead-Outs

We're now over half a decade into The Voice's run of Monday dominance, and there's still nothing that has looked better in the 10:00 lead-out slot than James Spader's The Blacklist. It opened with 12.58 million viewers and a 3.8 demo rating, which was pretty similar to where the previous year's occupant Revolution began (4.1). After dropping each of the next three weeks (3.3 -> 3.1 -> 3.0), The Blacklist stayed at 3.0ish for the rest of the fall, and its comparisons vs. Revolution became more favorable.

Unlike with Revolution, NBC felt good enough about The Blacklist to give it a shot during the winter months, while Voice was on hiatus. And The Blacklist passed that test big-time, posting a 2.5 -> 2.3 -> 2.5 for the three-week January run, with lead-ins that were somewhere in the ones. With the return of The Voice, The Blacklist went back into the high-2's. That made it an even bigger win vs. the year-ago Revolution, which had fallen off significantly in the spring half of the season.

The Super Bowl and the Thursday Move

The Blacklist seemed strong enough to take on another night for an NBC that still had depth issues, but NBC was hesitant; instead, it announced that The Blacklist would return to Monday at 10/9c for the fall before eventually moving to Thursday, and that Thursday move would be preceded by an episode after the Super Bowl. Not pictured in the averages below, it averaged 25.72 million viewers and an 8.4 demo, and was enough to start the Blacklist Thursday run at the low end of its usual Monday level.

That sort of level was not sustainable; The Blacklist fell about 30% to a 1.7 the next week. It hung in the high-1's for quite awhile after that, but ended season two with some pretty alarming results, including an almost flop-level 1.2 at the end of April before bouncing back in the last couple weeks.

Though the trend didn't seem that good, The Blacklist turned in a fairly consistent third season, perhaps helped a bit in the early going by a reasonable lead-in from the early weeks of Heroes Reborn. But in the winter and spring, The Blacklist had very little help, leading out of drama bomb You, Me and the Apocalypse and unscripted bomb Strong. It never fell below the 1.2 from late in season two.

Sliding Around

However, The Blacklist got downgraded to the 10/9c hour for 2016-17, as NBC looked to shore up the rest of the night with its most promising sophomores Superstore and Chicago Med. Though Med provided The Blacklist with the best lead-in it'd had on Thursday, being at 10:00 meant another season of significant ratings decline. Another schedule downgrade appeared possible at the 2017 upfront... but instead, it got moved to Wednesday for the first time, and to the 8:00 hour for the first time. Now we'll see what the fifth-year vet can do for an hour that has housed many a marginal show in recent seasons.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12013-14Monday 10:002.892.33.8detail
22014-15Mon 10:00, Thu 9:002.07-29%1.23.5detail
32015-16Thursday 9:001.43-31%1.21.8detailC+
42016-17Thursday 10:000.99-31%0.81.3detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow17y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12013-14153big hit1.88122202202138
22014-15123solid1.51-20%7120820895
32015-1698marginal1.20-20%8212412489
42016-1781marginal0.99-17%6510610673

AVERAGE:114solid
CAREER:455utility


The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

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