UPDATE, 1:58 PM: The Blacklist did go up a tenth to a 2.4 among adults 18-49 in the Live+Same Day ratings, within a tenth of its fall finale and its Monday L+SD average without a lead-in from The Voice (both at 2.5). ABC’s Scandal also climbed up a tenth to a 3.2, indicating that there were viewers who watched both heavyweight 9 PM drama choices on premiere night.
Also adjusted up were usual suspects The Big Bang Theory (4.6) and Grey’s Anatomy (2.3), while The Vampire Diaries (0.7) slipped a tenth.
PREVIOUS, AM: NBC executives are breathing a sigh of relief this morning as The Blacklist opened in line with expectations on Thursday, giving the network a much-needed tentpole on the night where it had been flatlining for the past couple of seasons. But it wasn’t all good news for NBC as new drama Allegiance was a non-starter at 10 PM.
Moving The Blacklist from its protected Monday slot behind The Voice to Thursday to face ABC’s Scandal was risky. NBC brass carefully studied ratings data that indicated the two shows could co-exist without cannibalizing each other — Scandal appeals to women, The Blacklist to men, and Scandal attracts a disproportionately larger black audience compared with the NBC drama. (Scandal‘s Live+Same Day 18-49 audience is 77% female, making it the most female-skewing drama on the major four networks, while Blacklist’s 58% female skew is tied with Grimm as NBC’s second-least female-skewing drama.)
The Blacklist was coming off a high-rated episode that followed the Super Bowl on Sunday. The conclusion of the two-episode arc last night drew a 2.3 in 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers from 9-10 PM. The benchmark for NBC brass had been The Blacklist‘s Monday L+SD average without a Voice lead-in, which was a 2.5 in 18-49 and 9.45 million viewers. Last night’s Thursday debut was just off of that number in the demo (The Blacklist will quite possibly close the 0.2 gap in the finals) and higher in total viewers, which is within what the network had been hoped for. (The Blacklist also is currently off by 0.2 from its fall finale on Monday.)
The Blacklist is turning the lights on — its Thursday debut was NBC’s most-watched scripted series on the night in more than five years, since the ER finale.
And NBC’s theory that there is no big overlap between The Blacklist and Scandal audiences appears to be holding up, as the ABC drama drew a 3.1 in 18-49 and 9.5 million viewers, down a modest -14% from last week in the demo. The two shows split bragging rights, with Scandal as the highest-rated drama on the night in 18-49 and The Blacklist as the most watched.
While The Blacklist move seems to have worked, at least in Week 1, that is not the case for NBC’s new drama Allegiance. With a solid lead-in from The Blacklist, the Russian spy series opened with a paltry 1.1 in 18-49, tying Fox’s now-defunct limited series Gracepoint as the lowest-rated drama premiere on the Big 4 networks this season. With such a low start, there is little upside potential. The Blacklist’s only remaining hope for some sort of support on the night is NBC’s new miniseries The Slap, which will be its lead-in at 8 PM. (A rerun of the post-Super Bowl episode of The Blacklist aired at 8 PM last night.)
With Scandal and The Blacklist in the 9 PM hour, Fox’s new drama Backstrom (1.0) is being blown out of the water, diving -29% in Week 3. There was some good news for Fox last night as American Idol (2.4) was up +9% week to week.
On ABC, Grey’s Anatomy (2.2) was down -19% from last week’s fast national, How To Get Away With Murder (2.7) was down -10%.
CBS drama Elementary felt immediate effect from the network’s decision to pull The McCarthys and replace it with The Big Bang Theory repeats. Following a Big Bang rerun, the 10 PM drama (1.5) shot up +15% from last week when it followed a McCarthys original. The rest of CBS’ lineup was status quo: An original Big Bang Theory at 8 PM (4.5) was up a tenth from its fast national last week and Mom (2.8) and Two And A Half Men (2.3) were even, with Mom matching series highs.
CBS won the night in total viewers while ABC was No. 1 in 18-49.
The CW’s Vampire Diaries (0.8) was up +14% from last week’s low, Reign (0.4) was steady.