Did NBC make a Chicago Fire season 6 snafu by moving it away from This Is Us on the schedule? We’re starting to think so.
Granted, much of the thinking here depends on whatever vantage point you choose to look at the situation from. If the network’s goal is to get the best ratings possible regardless of the show, you do have to think that moving Chicago Fire to Thursdays while giving the Tuesday slot to Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders was a misfire.
Let’s look at things purely from a live+same-day numbers perspective. Through two episodes at the start of last season, Chicago Fire averaged around a 1.7 rating. Meanwhile, through two episodes this year The Menendez Murders is averaging a 1.4. There are a couple of other factors that make this disparity all the more notable: The Menendez Murders is likely to drop more because most new shows do, and it’s had a much stronger This Is Us lead-in than Chicago Fire did at the start of season 5 last year. Even when you consider the typical year-to-year drops that most shows make, the better lead-in could’ve still given Chicago Fire a 1.7 rating through two episodes this fall.
So what about the other vantage point? You can make the argument that Chicago Fire moving to Thursday night was a move to shore up that lineup more so than it was to keep it from getting great ratings on Tuesdays. The premiere episode of Chicago Fire did draw a 1.5 rating last week, and if it keeps that up on Thursdays it’ll be bringing NBC some of the best ratings that they’ve had in this timeslot in ages — on a season-long basis it’ll be their most prominent show here arguably since ER. That’s a huge win, even if the ratings are a little bit lower than they’d be on Tuesdays. Would The Menendez Murders be getting anywhere near the numbers that it is on Tuesdays if it was airing here? It’s hard to say, but it’s doubtful. Our feeling is that it would, at best, probably be averaging a 1.2 or 1.3 through its first two episodes.
Ultimately, we at CarterMatt can see a case for both keeping Chicago Fire where it is or moving it back to Thursdays. We don’t mind it staying where it is if it continues to perform on this level, mostly because NBC has needed a stalwart show in this timeslot and it performing well here basically means that it won’t be going anywhere in the near future. They know how hard it is to program this spot. However, at the same time we also think that NBC does need to look more at better uses for their Tuesday timeslot; while it made since to go for The Menendez Murders, we don’t think true crime perhaps has the mass-market appeal they thought it would.
What do you think of NBC’s Chicago Fire move at present?
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