The end of the fall TV season is nearly here, which normally means an end of November full of big midseason finales and even bigger ratings. For fall 2021, however, some of the biggest shows on television aren’t wrapping just yet and are holding their midseason finales until December. That meant that the week of November 14 involved a fair number of reruns, but reruns meant the opportunity for other shows to shine with less competition. Throw in some late season premieres and big announcements, and what could have been a dull week in the ratings delivered some changes worth noting.
So, as fall TV season continues to approach the end of the year, check out some of the interesting ratings changes from the week of November 14 in broadcast television. Even in the era of streaming and DVR, ratings matter, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what shifts. Let’s start with one of the most competitive TV nights of the season: Wednesdays.
CSI: Vegas Wins The Wednesday Slot Without Chicago P.D.
CBS made big headlines leading up to the return of CSI after years away, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to big ratings wins. The network may be partially to blame for CSI: Vegas not crushing in the numbers, as the revival of the fan-favorite series airs in a time slot that has been dominated by a different show for years: NBC’s Chicago P.D.
Unsurprisingly for any who have kept an eye on the numbers generated by One Chicago Wednesdays (comprised of Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET, Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET, and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET), P.D. has had the edge on CSI: Vegas in every week that they’ve aired head-to-head. November 17 was the first week ever that the newest CSI aired an episode without going up against a new episode of P.D., and that shot it up to win the time slot.
In Live+Same day calculations (a.k.a. the number of people who watched live on the night) courtesy of SpoilerTV, the new episode of CSI: Vegas hit a rating of 0.43 and won an audience of 3.9 million. That’s good news for the show as it approaches its season finale next month, but that doesn’t mean fans should jump for joy at the possibility of CSI overtaking P.D. The NBC rerun actually tied its CBS competition with a 0.43 rating and wasn’t that far off in the audience size, with 3 million viewers.
The good news for CSI: Vegas is that it easily beat the new episode of A Million Little Things over on ABC, which won a rating of just 0.3 and 2 million viewers. All of this said, all three of these shows do well in delayed ratings and viewership, so it should be interesting to see if the ranking of CSI: Vegas in first, Chicago P.D.’s rerun in second, and A Million Little Things in third changes after a few days for Live+3. Whatever happens in the days to come, at least CSI can boast that it won one Wednesday live!
The Flash Returns With The End Of The World
One show that honestly had no hope of winning its time slot nevertheless premiered with a big episode, as The Flash returned for Season 8 with the first part of the five-episode “Armageddon” arc that will bring back some familiar faces from the larger Arrowverse on The CW. The Flash hasn’t been hitting its numbers from the early seasons for years now, and it would take a lot for a CW show to beat its competition, but the “Armageddon” event had the potential to draw a decent audience. So, how did the Season 8 premiere do?
Well, it wasn’t the lowest-rated and least-watched episode on the night of Tuesday, November 16, but that’s not really saying much. In SpoilerTV’s Live+Same day calculations for November 16, The Flash ended up with a rating of 0.23 and audience size of 754,000 viewers. To contrast, the second lowest-rated show in the 8 p.m. time slot was Fox’s The Resident, which was well ahead with a rating of 0.45 and 3 million viewers. While Barry Allen and Co. may have leveled up significantly, The Flash didn’t!
It did beat the Season 6 premiere of Riverdale, however, which aired on The CW at 9 pm. ET directly after The Flash. That deadly episode won a rating of just 0.1 and an audience of 334,000. So, congratulations to The Flash? It is worth noting that The CW shows tend to improve in delayed viewership, sometimes doubling their original numbers even if they still don’t come anywhere close to the competition. So, in Live+3 or Live+7 calculations, The Flash’s numbers could look better, but its days of breaking a 1.0 and 1+ million may be gone for good.
The Blacklist Is Bumped Back To Fridays
The Blacklist returned to NBC for the fall season later than a lot of the other big weekday dramas, and the show received a pretty prime slot on Thursday nights to lead into the Law & Order block. Fridays certainly aren’t the biggest nights of the week when it comes to ratings, so the switch could have been good for the show. Then, just a week ago, NBC announced that it was bumping the show back to Fridays in 2022; looking at the ratings up to and including the most recent episode on November 18, the bump isn’t too shocking.
Although The Blacklist is another show that gets a boost when delayed viewers can be counted, it’s just not thriving on Thursday nights. The ratings (via SpoilerTV) for November 18 indicate that only 2.9 million million people tuned in live, with a rating of 0.32. While those aren’t the worst numbers in primetime on November 18, the only new episodes of shows that it beat were on The CW. Season 9 of the James Spader-led show is averaging its lowest ratings and viewership in show history, with 0.33 and 2.9 million. When a show somehow does better on Fridays than on Thursdays, then maybe it’s time to move that show back to its earlier night!
NBC is doing just that, but it’s worth noting that the show’s disappointing numbers so far in Season 9 aren’t necessarily the reason that the network is moving it to Fridays. It’s being replaced at 8 p.m. ET on Thursdays by the return of the original Law & Order, which will give NBC a full primetime block of Law & Order action. Considering how well the three Chicago shows do airing in one block on Wednesdays, it’s likely that NBC would have swapped Law & Order into that slot regardless of how well The Blacklist was doing. Maybe not to Fridays, though!
Station 19 Rises After Big Death
Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy returned on November 11 after a few weeks off with a crossover event that delivered on its promise of a big death by killing off Station 19’s Dean. It was an emotional twist that came after it initially seemed like a different firefighter was on death’s door, and raised some questions about what would happen next for his daughter and those who loved him most. And it was evidently also enough to draw a larger audience to the episode that aired a week later, on November 18.
In the Thanksgiving episode that followed up on Dean’s death, Station 19 hit a rating of 0.68 and attracted an audience of 4.8 million, making it the highest-rated and most-watched scripted drama at 8 p.m. on November 18. Both of those are rises from the November 11 episode that killed off the character, which hit 0.64 rating and 4.5 million. Grey’s Anatomy didn’t experience the same boost. The November 11 episode of Grey's turned in a rating of 0.7 and audience of 4.7 million, with the November 18 episode dipping to 0.61 and 4.1 million.
Those numbers suggest that Station 19 fans stuck around last Thursday to see what happened following Dean’s tragic fate (and Vic’s health) but didn’t feel the need to check out Grey’s again after this latest crossover. The discrepancy from week to week for Grey’s isn’t huge, but definitely shows how a much-hyped crossover can impact the numbers.
There is still time left in the fall 2021 TV season for some changes in what shows are winning and what shows aren’t, and a lot of twists are undoubtedly on the way with the upcoming fall finales. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV coverage as 2022 and a slew of winter premieres approach.
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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).