How The Blacklist Season 9 Is Doing In The Ratings Without Megan Boone's Liz Keen

The Blacklist has returned to NBC for the ninth season that will be markedly different from every season that came before, and not just because of the two-year time jump. The eighth season ended with the departure of actress Megan Boone, death of Liz Keen, and exit of creator Jon Bokenkamp. Throw in the show’s new time slot on Thursday nights, and there was no saying how well The Blacklist would (or wouldn’t) do this fall. The numbers are in for the Season 9 premiere without Megan Boone as Liz, and they’re pretty interesting.

The show returned for the Season 9 premiere on Thursday, October 21 at 8 p.m. ET to lead into the Law & Order block on NBC (and Law & Order: SVU’s 500th episode), and it looks like the new time slot is good for The Blacklist. According to SpoilerTV in the ratings and audience numbers for The Blacklist’s ninth season return, the premiere achieved a rating of 0.39 and viewership of 3.1 million in Live+Same day numbers. 

While those weren’t the highest numbers on the night – or even the 8 p.m. time slot for scripted, as it was behind CBS’ Young Sheldon and ABC’s Station 19 – they were solid for a show coming off of a long hiatus after killing off the star. A rating of 0.39 and audience of 3.1 million is also a marked jump from the ratings and viewership for the Season 8 finale that actually killed off Liz. SpoilerTV reported back in June that The Blacklist topped out at a disappointing 0.22 rating in Live+Same day, with an audience of just 2.23. 

Again, those aren’t the worst numbers in the world, but low for a high-stakes season finale that would feature the well-publicized departure of the lead in a pretty solid time slot of 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday without much competition in late June. A 10 p.m. slot on Wednesday was certainly more enviable when The Blacklist aired new episodes on Fridays, when Fridays are generally not the ideal nights for shows to score big ratings. That said, the scheduling may have had something to do with The Blacklist’s disappointing numbers for the Season 8 finale.

After spending most of Season 8 on Friday nights, NBC switched The Blacklist to that 10 p.m. ET time slot on Wednesdays for the final two episodes. The abrupt change in nights and times could well have something to do with the Season 8 finale not exactly crushing in the ratings, even up against a rerun of CBS’ S.W.A.T. and an episode of ABC’s Card Sharks. The Blacklist averaged a rating of 0.35 and audience of 3.26 in Season 8, so it seems likely that the change from Fridays to Wednesdays happening so close to the end of the season had something to do with the drop for the finale that said goodbye to Megan Boone’s Liz Keen. 

And the numbers for the Season 9 premiere indicate that maybe fans are ready to sit down for Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, which is a slot The Blacklist got after NBC axed plans for another Law & Order spinoff. There are some variables to consider, however. Premieres often do better in the ratings than normal episodes, and The Blacklist was leading into the much-hyped 500th episode of SVU. Still, the show got off to a reasonably strong start for Season 9. See what happens next in the post-Liz era of The Blacklist on NBC on Thursdays at 8 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. 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).