This fall TV season is packed with network shows that range from long-running to brand new, and primetime is a competitive place. Series like Law & Order: SVU, Grey’s Anatomy, and NCIS are still going strong well over a decade after premiering, while there’s CSI: Vegas bringing the CSI franchise back to television and shows like FBI: International that expand franchises even further. So, now that we’re a couple weeks into fall TV season, let’s take a look at some of the time slot and franchise showdowns particularly worth noting. After all, even in the streaming era, ratings matter!
And in honor of a mega hit franchise coming back to the small screen several years after its last show was cancelled, let’s start with how CSI: Vegas fared against its biggest competition: Chicago P.D.
CSI: Vegas Vs. Chicago P.D.
CSI: Vegas premiered on at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 6 as the revival of CSI with several original cast members returning, and seemed to get a pretty strong push from CBS. But Wednesdays are very competitive nights of primetime, so how did CSI: Vegas compare? The new show didn’t get off to too bad of a start, on the whole.
According to Variety, the CSI revival won an audience of 4.12 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic in Live+Same Day (a.k.a. the number of people who watched the broadcast live). It also scored an 0.46 rating. It’s not the best for CSI’s grand return to primetime, though, and part of that may be due to what was happening over on NBC at 10 p.m. with Chicago P.D.
Chicago P.D. regularly steamrolls all the other broadcast network shows at 10 p.m., and unfortunately for CSI, there was no rush of nostalgia strong enough to push P.D. out of top position. In Live+Same Day numbers, Chicago P.D. had an audience of 5.75 million, and a demographic rating of 0.75, easily beating CSI: Vegas’ 4.12 million and 0.46 rating.
Even worse, the CSI revival didn’t even rank in the Top 20 in Live+3 Day numbers (via THR), which account for the audience who watched within the first three days. P.D. got a big boost to hit more than 9 million viewers and a rating of 1.27, making P.D. the sixth most-watched scripted show and the top-rated scripted show of the week. It may be early, but I think it’s safe to say that CSI: Vegas will be holding the #2 slot on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. for CBS.
Grey's Anatomy And Station 19 Vs. The Law & Orders
In the earliest numbers for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 vs. NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime this season, the NBC shows surprisingly beat both ABC series in the ratings, although SVU and OC were lower in viewership. Now, there are numbers available for Live+3 for the Grey’s/Station 19 premieres as well as Live+Same for the latest new episodes.
Well, the live numbers from last week may have shown that the Law & Orders had the ratings edge over both ABC shows, but the Live+3 numbers tell a different story. Neither Law & Order made the Top 20 in total viewers, while Grey’s did (albeit in 20th place). Grey’s grew 48% to hit over 7 million viewers, making it the audience winner for that first Thursday.
In the Live+3 ratings, Grey’s got a boost of 65% to hit 1.26 and ranked third for scripted shows. Station 19 also made the Top 20 in ratings, with a boost of 36% for a 1.04. Organized Crime didn’t make the Top 20, but SVU did with a 47% bump up to 1.07. Taken altogether, the ABC shows have the edge over the NBC shows in Live+3.
But what about Live+Same for the October 7 episode? THR reports that Station 19 attracted an audience of 4.29 million and rating of 0.58, with Grey’s reaching an audience of 4.04 million and 0.64 rating. SVU and Organized Crime both dropped from the previous week, with SVU’s 3.88 million viewers and 0.62 rating, followed by Organized Crime with 3.2 million and 0.55 rating. Grey’s and Station 19 are pulling ahead of the Law & Orders.
Survivor Vs. The Masked Singer
Who said scripted television is the only genre worth watching in primetime? Survivor is finally back on CBS with the very highly-anticipated (and complicated) Season 41, while Fox’s The Masked Singer has been going strong with its hit format. Both air new episodes on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, so which won this past week?
Well, in the Live+Same numbers, Survivor was on top of the night in the ratings with 0.94, and a not-too-shabby audience of 5.8 million. The Masked Singer didn’t fare so well, with a 0.9 rating and total audience of 4.35 million. Survivor certainly won the night live, but now the Live+3 numbers are available to shed some more light on Survivor vs. The Masked Singer. After a few days of delayed viewership, Survivor got a boost of 25% in total viewers for 7.37 million and the #18 spot in the Top 20 for the week.
The Masked Singer didn’t get enough of a boost to make the Top 20 in viewers, but the story is different for delayed ratings. The Masked Singer got a ratings boost of 37% to hit 1.38, while Survivor’s boost of 28% only got it up to 1.28. While Survivor won in both ratings and audience size in the live numbers, The Masked Singer gained a solid edge when it comes to delayed ratings. It’s clearly going to be an interesting race this season on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
The FBIs Vs. One Chicago Vs. The Law & Orders
The shows of the shared Dick Wolf universe technically aren’t in competition with each other, but it’s still interesting to see how they compare. The current Dick Wolf show count is eight: FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, and FBI: International on CBS on Tuesdays; Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med on NBC on Wednesdays; and Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime on NBC on Thursdays. So how do their numbers hold up against each other?
Fortunately, Variety has the answer for the first couple weeks of the 2021-2022 fall season for all eight Dick Wolf shows. FBI is currently averaging 10 million viewers per episode, putting it well ahead of FBI: Most Wanted with an average of 9.2 million and FBI: International with 8.5 million, accounting for delayed viewership. Those numbers have a bit of intrigue to them, as the 10 p.m. hour of TV generally is lower rated live than the earlier hours, but Most Wanted is holding onto a larger audience than freshman series FBI: International.
Over on NBC Wednesdays, with delayed and digital viewing included, the ranking goes first for Chicago Fire with an average of 11.7 million, second for Chicago P.D. with 11.6 million, and third to Chicago Med with 10.8 million. I’ve long been interested in the One Chicago ratings, as the shows tend to be impressively consistent with each other, although Med’s numbers have been lower than expected in its current seventh season so far.
P.D. also has a remarkable tendency to get a huge boost from delayed viewership, which was again the case this past week. For the Live+3 numbers, Chicago P.D. rose 45% in viewership, and only Blue Bloods and 9-1-1 had larger boosts with 52% and 47%, respectively. And in the ratings, Chicago P.D. shot way up in Live+3, getting a 66% boost to hit a 1.27 rating, putting it ahead of both Fire and Med. (And all the FBIs and both Law & Orders as well.)
As for those Law & Order shows for their premieres, Season 23 of Law & Order: SVU won a total viewership of 9.2 million, with 7.8 million coming from the live broadcast and the other 1.4 million coming from digital. Law & Order: Organized Crime was significantly lower with 7.5 million, but picked up a comparable amount with a digital boost of 1.1 million.
There are of course a lot of variables in comparing the eight shows, but it seems that One Chicago is on top, followed by a mixing of the FBIs and Law & Orders. It should be interesting to see if SVU and Organized Crime receive boosts whenever the Law & Order revival premieres, as Dick Wolf himself has been open about the benefits of three shows airing over one night of primetime.
And the primetime game is only just getting started for the fall TV season. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for TV news and coverage, and check out our 2021 fall TV schedule for more of what’s on the way.
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, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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