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In the months since Red Reddington spread further lies about his heritage in Season 7's winter finale, the world got turned upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now completely shaken up everything in the TV industry and beyond. But if there's one thing that people have excelled at when stuck at home self-quarantining, it's watching the bejesus out of their televisions. So while the three-month wait for the midseason premiere was a struggle for viewers, the episode's ratings definitely benefitted from everybody staying at home.
Let's break down the numbers for The Blacklist's "Victoria Fenberg," which the producers will likely be pumped about for a while. Perhaps the episode's biggest claim to fame at this point is that its audience of 5.39 million currently makes the midseason premiere the most-watched episode since Season 5's "Nicholas T. Moore," which was watched by 5.54 million people back on May 2, 2018. Not quite a two-year leap, but pretty close.
The Blacklist's return to NBC's Friday night lineup earned a 0.8 demo rating for viewers aged 18-49, which is pretty impressive for any show airing on a Friday night. (And almost definitely speaks to a lot more people staying at home for the weekend.) That rating is the biggest The Blacklist has seen since the 0.9 earned by the Season 6 premiere, which aired on January 3, 2019. That ep was a special Thursday-night premiere, which speaks to its higher number; it also makes the the total audience for "Victoria Fenberg" all the more impressive.
When directly compared to the midseason finale, The Blacklist's latest episode also stands out as a big winner. The midseason premiere's 5.39 million-strong viewership marked a 39% boost in total viewers, with the conversation-starting "Katarina Rostova" earning 3.87 million pairs of eyeballs back on December 13, 2019. The demo rating comparison had an even bigger leap, with Episode 11's 0.8 rating standing tall above the tenth episode's 0.5 rating. (Just imagine if Katarina had been around to see it.)
NBC also shared the stats that The Blacklist's midseason premiere was a winner across the board, in that its viewership was 48% higher than the network's average audience for the same timeslot (3.64 million), at least through the first quarter of the year so far. And the episode's demo rating was 60% higher than the 0.5 average for all programming in that same time slot so far this year.
Considering the midseason premiere's numbers are currently the highest of any Blacklist episodes that have aired so far, the producers are likely hoping for repeat performances as long as self-isolation is required across the country. Especially as the drama is gearing up to air its 150th episode. While it's obviously unfortunate that the global pandemic has forced many millions of Americans to stay inside as a means to avoid the virus' spread, TV networks are going to take wins where they can get them.
The Blacklist airs on NBC on Friday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET, though it remains to be seen how the rest of the season will go. Filming for Season 7 was shut down on March 13 amidst the wave of other TV shows delaying or flat-out ending their productions.