Friday, August 4, 2023

The War of 18-49, FBI: Most Wanted

The First FBI Spin-Off

When Dick Wolf's Chicago Fire got a spin-off in the winter of its second season, it seemed kinda fast. But CBS followed suit with their own Dick Wolf franchise, FBI, giving FBI: Most Wanted a January 2020 premiere barely 15 months after the series premiere of the mothership. It was a solid fit on series premiere night with a 0.76 out of FBI's 0.88, an even better one in week two (0.76 out of an 0.82), and it then held onto mostly 0.7's until spiking during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring. While not a breakout, it was basically as strong as NCIS: New Orleans had been earlier in the season, and that was good enough for renewal. Season two was pretty much more of the same Plus-wise, albeit after a slightly stronger FBI.

An Hour Apart

CBS put season four of FBI at the start of an all-FBI Tuesday, but left Most Wanted season three at 10/9c so they could launch new spin-off FBI: International in the 9/8c hammock position. Though International was just OK at 9/8c for the most part, Most Wanted actually thrived in this situation, growing year-to-year for most of the season despite the International lead-in (and even growing from that lead-in on quite a few occasions). To date, season three remains easily the strongest season of Most Wanted.

In season four, after a solid fall, the whole lineup started showing signs of shakiness, and big declines in the spring meant Most Wanted reverted back to its 90ish Plus from seasons one and two. It actually only grew on International twice all season, but the two were still usually quite close ratings-wise, making Most Wanted almost certainly the stronger option since it occupies the lower-viewed 10/9c hour. While the FBI night as a whole faces some uncertainty going into 2023-24 after the late season struggles, Most Wanted can still point at International as the weak link in the lineup. Perhaps it, like NCIS: Los Angeles before it, will be able to outlive the second spin-off in its empire.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12020Tuesday 10:000.740.61.0detailB

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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