Last night, Law & Order: SVU aired one of its most-dramatic episodes of the entire season, one in which one of the main characters in Peter Stone found himself accused of sexual assault. You would think that this would have been the sort of storyline that would have drawn additional viewers, but that turned out to not be the case.
As a matter of fact, last night’s new episode drew in total a 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic plus also around 4 million viewers, which mark some of the lowest ratings that we’ve ever seen for the long-running NBC franchise. Is this something to sound the alarms about? We understand that the temptation would be there to do so, but at the same time, there are some major factors to consider when you look at these numbers and CarterMatt is here to help you dive into it all.
1. NFL football – Last night’s episode was up against a particularly-notable game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers — in other words, two very-popular teams in a close game. There have been a lot of Thursday-night clunker games over the years, and that is why traditionally we don’t consider Thursday Night Football that much of a threat. Yet, it clearly made an impact on many shows last night — SVU still tied for #1 in its timeslot.
2. A poor lead-in – We’re not speaking here about the overall quality of I Feel Bad on at 9:30; we’re speaking more about just how terribly it is performing in the ratings. Last night’s episode generated a 0.5 rating and more than likely, it’s not making it through the entirety of this season. At least on Wednesday nights in the past SVU had the luxury of airing behind shows like The Blacklist or Blindspot; while these were not ratings dynamos, they did at least draw more viewers overall.
3. Airing at 10:00 p.m. – There are just fewer viewers around at this time of night — airing one hour later than the show used to can make a big difference. After all, people have to go to work the next morning! (It’s a little bit easier at 9:00 p.m. Central time, but that only makes up a small fraction of the audience.)
Remember that there are so many other factors airing the show’s overall performance, including solid DVR and repeat numbers, a massive syndication deal, and just in general a strong push to get SVU a record-breaking season 21. It’s also more culturally relevant now than perhaps it has ever been, so we feel confident that moving forward, it is going to show some ratings gains — especially in the new year once the NFL is done for the season.
What do you think about the latest ratings for SVU, and what those say in particular about the rest of the season as a whole? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments! (Photo: NBC.)