Five weeks into its new Thursday lineup, NBC is making an inevitable scheduling change on the night where The Blacklist had been left to hold down the fort with no support from newbie dramas at 8 PM or 10 PM. Both The Slap at 8 PM and Allegiance at 10 have been floundering and already had hit the dreaded 0.7 adults 18-49 rating that no program on the Big 4 had survived. Both midseason dramas posted a 0.8 last night, hurting The Blacklist in the middle (1.7, down -11% to match a fast nationals series low).
To try and shore up its flagship drama series, already renewed for next season, NBC is yanking Allegiance from the schedule effective immediately. It is not an official cancellation but is as close as you can get to one without announcing it. There are no immediate plans for the eight unaired episodes of the Russian spy show. Limited series The Slap, which has aired four episodes of its eight-episode run, will move to the 10 PM slot beginning next week. Between the two, it makes sense to keep The Slap as it is a short-run series and has received enough critical praise to make it a possible awards contender in the long-form arena.
A series of Blacklist-themed Dateline specials, Dateline: The Real Blacklist, are slated for 8 PM beginning next week to try and give The Blacklist some lead-in. Hosted by NBC News’ Richard Engel, the specials “will focus on conspiracy-themed investigations and crimes that involve larger-than-life perpetrators and circumstances.”
The Blacklist has been making up some ground in DVR viewing, with the February 19 telecast growing by a series-record +87% in Live+3 vs. L+Same Day in 18-49 rating (1.72 to 3.21) and in total viewers by 4.8 million (7.7 million to 12.5 million). Still, the FBI drama is taking a hit from moving to Thursday from its original Monday 10 PM berth.