Why The Blacklist's Lower Ratings Might Not Actually Be A Problem

The Blacklist was a solid performer for NBC during its earlier years, but the show has struggled throughout Season 4 to pull in sizable audiences on Thursday nights, and fans have begun to worry about whether or not a Season 5 will happen. Well, as it turns out, the low number of folks who watch live might not be enough to kill The Blacklist after Season 4. The series actually performs astoundingly well in DVR viewing in the days following the live airing.

For the first eight episodes of Season 4, The Blacklist averaged 5.8 million viewers and a 1.14 in the valuable 18 - 49 age demographic in Live+same day ratings. Neither of those numbers is particularly great, especially for a Big 4 network like NBC. What may save The Blacklist is the fact that the Live+7 numbers that take DVR viewership into account bump the average up to 10.6 million viewers and a 2.37 in the 18 - 49 demo. The demographic rating jumps a whopping average of 108% from Live+same to Live+7, and the 4.8 million extra viewers are impressive. The show is also doing well in wealthy homes, which likely means that NBC makes a pretty penny off of advertising revenue.

The DVR numbers should come as a relief to any fans who have been afraid that The Blacklist is on its last legs on NBC. The series has been more or less consistent throughout Season 4, but it experienced a huge drop in Live+same day numbers from the end of Season 3 to the beginning of Season 4. Considering that the final episodes of Season 3 pulled a pretty huge "Gotcha!" on viewers by faking Liz's death, there was a very real possibility that some people had just given up on the show after the fake out. Going by the DVR numbers, however, the drop might more reasonably connect to the change in the show's time slot. NBC bumped The Blacklist from a 9 p.m. to a 10 p.m. time slot, which could have cost the show some members of the audience who happen to go to bed before episodes air.

Throw in the fact that the Thursday 10 p.m. time slot is rough on the other Big 4 networks, and the ratings for The Blacklist aren't too alarming. In fact, The Blacklist ranks #2 in every key demographic in the 10 p.m. slot against competition from ABC and CBS. Still, we can't say for sure that The Blacklist will be renewed for a Season 5 at this point. Season 4 only returned from its winter hiatus on January 5, so we'll have to wait until we can see if the Live+7 numbers hold up as well in 2017 as they did in Fall 2016.

The Blacklist airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).