NBC's Chicago P.D. Is Beating Med And Fire In One Key Way

chicago pd season 7 voight nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

The three shows of NBC's One Chicago deliver some of the most consistent ratings and viewership on broadcast television. The three series' numbers rank with Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET usually first, Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET usually second, and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET reliably in third. P.D. dominates its time slot, but it doesn't come out on top of Med and Fire in early calculations. Now, however, there is one key way that P.D. soundly beats Med and Fire in the 2019-2020 TV season: premiere delayed viewing.

Now, if we were only talking about Chicago P.D. slightly edging out Med and Fire when comparing the delayed numbers for the September 25 season premieres, the totals wouldn't be all that interesting. Instead, P.D. is on top in percentage growth, ratings increase, and viewership boost. You don't have to care about math to be impressed by these numbers. But what does calculation for delayed viewing mean?

The numbers discussed below for Chicago P.D. Season 7, Fire Season 8, and Med Season 5 are the digital and linear premiere ratings and viewership tallied in the months since September 25, 2019. Basically, these numbers represent the people who streamed or watched the shows' season premieres since the live broadcast and next day.

For shows with already impressive live+same day ratings, boosts from delayed viewing can be pretty big deals. So, let's jump into the One Chicago numbers for the three September 25 season premieres and see how soundly P.D. beat Fire and Med.

According to NBC numbers, Chicago P.D. was unsurprisingly the lowest-rated and least-watched of the One Chicago premieres on September 25 in live+same day calculations. In the months since that broadcast, P.D. actually tripled -- yes, tripled -- its ratings courtesy of delayed viewing calculations. P.D. jumped by a whopping 226%, from a 1.09 rating in the 18-49 age demographic to a 3.55 rating. As if that wasn't enough, viewership received a huge boost as well. The audience jumped an incredible 7.7 million viewers, from 6.5 million to 14.2 million. Take that, Fire and Med!

Chicago Fire came in second with the delayed viewing tallies, with the ratings increasing 174% from 1.12 to 3.07. Not too shabby at all! The numbers for viewership were solid as well. Fire's Season 8 premiere on September 25 saw a bump in the audience from 7.3 million to 13.4 million for a rise of 6.1 million. While a rise of 6.1 million pales in comparison to P.D.'s 7.7 million, delayed viewing was kind to Fire as well.

And that brings us to Chicago Med. The biggest winner in live+same day numbers came in third with delayed ratings and viewership, though those numbers were still far from unfortunate. Med jumped up by 158% in the 18-49 demo ratings, from 1.03 to 2.66. As for the size of the audience, viewership from September 25 to the present rose a grand total of 5.4 million, from 7.5 million up to 12.9 million.

So, Chicago P.D.'s Season 7 opener jumped by the most with 226%, had the highest ratings with 3.55, and won the biggest audience in delayed viewership with 14.2 million in the months since One Chicago's September 25 premieres. Fire came in second over Med in all three measurements. Are these results surprising?

Yes and no, in my book. On the one hand, Chicago P.D. is by far the darkest of the three shows, which can mean fewer people interested in watching. A show that consistently comes in third in live numbers isn't necessarily likely to overtake the other two shows in its shared universe in delayed calculations.

Also, P.D. ended its previous season finale on the least life-and-death cliffhanger of the three shows. Sure, Antonio might have been about to fall off the wagon, Voight might have murdered a guy, and something might have been brewing between Upton and Halstead, but nobody was potentially a moment away from death like on Med and Fire.

On the other hand, Chicago P.D. airs at 10 p.m. ET. For people who might not be willing to stay up that late on a weeknight, delayed viewing could be the optimal way to watch a show airing in the last hour of primetime. Why watch something at 10 p.m. when you can watch it at a later date in an earlier hour? We're not all night owls! If I would have had to pick one show likely to get a season premiere delayed viewing boost before seeing numbers, I would pick P.D. Not by this much, though!

Also, premieres generally result in much higher ratings and viewership than episodes other than finales, so P.D.'s numbers were likely inflated compared to the rest of the season. Delayed viewing for the rest of One Chicago's seasons should be interesting to evaluate. For some more recent numbers for One Chicago and other series, swing by CinemaBlend on Fridays for our weekly ratings rundown. To see what happens next in One Chicago, tune in to NBC on Wednesdays for Med at 8 p.m. ET, Fire at 9 p.m. ET, and P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.

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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. 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).