Friday, May 31, 2019

The War of 18-49, Chicago Med

Season One on Tuesday

Just over three years after the launch of Chicago Fire, and less than two years after its spin-off Chicago PD came on the scene, NBC was ready for a third dose of Chicago. Chicago Med had a late-fall premiere, opening to a 2.2 demo on 11/17/15 and holding most of its lead-in from The Voice (2.6). It took a hit to 1.8 the next week (two days before Thanksgiving) but in a nice hammock between The Voice and the mothership Chicago Fire, it bounced back rather admirably in weeks three (2.0) and four (2.1).

But it was put to the test quickly, as the winter brought a hiatus for The Voice and a much more middling lead-in from Hollywood Game Night. Chicago Med proved up to the test, hanging in the mid-1's throughout winter 2016 and consistently growing by several tenths on HGN. And the return of The Voice for the spring helped bring Med back into the high-1's. The Tuesday pairing brought the Chicago brand to a new level; the two existing shows had never gone higher than a 108 Plus, but season one of Med had a 117 while its lead-out Fire had a 120.

Many Timeslot Moves

The easy thing would've been to keep Chicago Med on Tuesday, where the whole night was clicking. But NBC had another plan (a rather successful plan called This Is Us), and that left Med to fend among more modest performers on Thursday. It helped make Thursday more respectable than it had been recently for NBC, but there was still a noticeable hit to Med's own ratings.

In season three, Med was evicted from yet another timeslot by a big event in the making (the Will and Grace revival), missing the fall schedule completely. But another late fall premiere brought it a nice timeslot upgrade; it got to air much of its season after the highest-rated season of This Is Us on Tuesday. Its 1.4ish ratings were a big upgrade on what had aired there early in the fall (Law and Order True Crime), but but its value really became clear when This Is Us was over and low-rated newbie Rise took over at 9/8c; Med usually built by about three tenths on Rise, a rare accomplishment for a 10/9c program.

Chicagos United

Season four brought yet another scheduling change, but it was another positive one for Chicago Med; it was placed on Wednesday alongside the other two series in the Chicago universe. This synergy took all three shows to their highest-rated respective seasons ever, making NBC a Wednesday force like it hadn't been since the heydays of The West Wing and Law and Order. For Med, that meant staying very close to even in raw numbers for a second straight season, and never going below 1.0 all year. Med and Fire had the first two Chicago seasons to cross the 125 'hit' threshold. Finally, NBC found a multi-year home for Chicago Med; all three shows stayed put in 2019-20 and blew away their previous series highs.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12015-16Tuesday 9:001.701.42.2detail
22016-17Thursday 9:001.23-28%0.91.6detailB
32017-18Tuesday 10:001.21-2%1.01.5detailA-
42018-19Wednesday 8:001.20-1%1.01.4detailA

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



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

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