Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Breakdown: NBC Friday in 2020-21 (The Blacklist, Dateline)

It's time for a journey through the NBC Friday schedule in 2020-21...

NOTE: In addition to classic A18-49+, Breakdown posts with 2019-20 ratings also use CVPlus, comparing spring ratings against a higher league average due to viewership inflation from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. See here for more. Also see here for information on the 2020-21 league average.


2019-20The BlacklistDateline67
2020-21American Ninja Warrior (R)Dateline62 (-7%)
50 (-24%)69 (+1%)68 (+0%)


The Blacklist returned in November but aired just two fall episodes, so the most frequent occupant in the 8/7c hour was the October repeats of American Ninja Warrior. Dateline did OK throughout the fall with a mix of 0.4's and 0.5's.


2019-20Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone CollectorDateline69
2020-21The BlacklistDateline59 (-15%)
56 (-4%)61 (-19%)61 (-18%)


The Blacklist was back full time starting in late January, but looked weaker than ever with 0.3's and 0.4's. Dateline dragged the night down with a particularly rough winter, including some low 0.4's and even 0.3's.


2019-20The BlacklistDateline65
2020-21The BlacklistDateline60 (-8%)
55 (-15%)62 (-5%)62 (-3%)


The good news is the raw numbers didn't get any worse in the spring, so the lineup looked a little more competitive by comparison.

Rating the Ratings

The Blacklist*0.20.350.4-36%55flop-19%detail
Dateline Fri*0.30.410.5-27%63solid(Fri)-7%detail

The Blacklist: Last season might have been a bit COVID-inflated because it got a lot of post-lockdown eps, but this show still got a good bit weaker even after accounting for that. It's now basically doing what Blindspot was doing on Friday, and doesn't really seem like the kind of thing you'd want leading off a big Thursday lineup. But following the surprise cancellation of Law & Order: For the Defense, that's just what it will do. Grade: C-.

Dateline Fri: Basically it had one really bad period (winter, when ABC's Shark Tank and 20/20 were peaking) and was close to even in the other two. But that period was bad enough to drag the whole season down to rather low-end levels for Dateline over the last decade or so. 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.

Previous Breakdowns for NBC Friday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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