Monday, August 12, 2019

The Breakdown: NBC Friday in 2018-19 (Blindspot, The Blacklist, Dateline and more!)

It's time for a journey through the NBC Friday schedule in 2018-19...


2018-19BlindspotMidnight, TexasDateline52 (-31%)
48 (-21%)42 (-49%)64 (-21%)

Going from two hours of Dateline to one hour can be a reliable way to tank a nightly ratings average, and that's what NBC did in fall 2018. They got nothing from season two of the summer 2017 launch Midnight, Texas, and Blindspot suffered greatly at 8/7c.


2018-19BlindspotThe BlacklistDateline58 (+5%)
57 (-4%)60 (+41%)58 (-10%)

Things got a lot more favorable with the arrival of The Blacklist after the new year (inviting the question of why it wasn't here to begin with). It throttled last year's Taken, and seemed to extend a little of its aura to Blindspot which got a decent bounce in the winter.


2018-19BlindspotThe BlacklistDateline52 (-10%)
45 (-7%)55 (-15%)57 (-8%)

The Blacklist held up well in the spring, but did not look as good comparison-wise as it had to go up against two-hour Datelines. Blindspot took a pretty hard hit after DST and was ultimately yanked from the schedule for May Sweeps, before ekeing out another renewal in the end anyway.

Rating the Ratings

Midnight, Texas0.40.400.4-45%42flop-36%detail
The Blacklist*0.50.570.9-39%60solid(Fri)-29%detail
Dateline Fri0.40.570.8-28%60solid(Fri)-17%detail

Blindspot: Another sizable step down, though quite a bit of the damage was done in the fall alongside Midnight, Texas. The pairing with The Blacklist seemed to perk it up a little bit, especially in the winter. But it was still not a worthy occupant on the NBC schedule, hence the pulling for May sweeps. Grade: C-.

Midnight, Texas: From summer 2017 to fall 2018, from Monday 10/9c with a big lead-in to Friday 9/8c with a bad lead-in. Maybe it's possible to make the case it wasn't massively weaker than in season one. But it was clearly a ratings black hole, as The Blacklist showed when it came into the slot. Grade: D.

The Blacklist: Pretty similar drop to what Fresh Off the Boat did in its own Friday move. The Blacklist also went back to becoming a regular 100%+ DVR gainer as well. Grade: B-.

Dateline Fri: Just 7 out of 31 episodes were two hours this year, vs. 20 out of 28 last year. That is going to hurt the ratings. NBC opted to lead off in fall 2019 with two-hour Dateline as a regular thing, and so did ABC with 20/20. The networks have always seemed reticent to do that at the upfronts, but maybe the advertisers have finally accepted that this is the best way to go? Grade: C+.

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 Friday.

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