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Why The Blacklist's Move To A Different Night Could Be Best For Season 9

Red Reddington sitting at restaurant table in The Blacklist
(Image credit: NBC)

The Blacklist returned to NBC for Season 9 with some big changes: leading lady Elizabeth Keen had been killed off, creator Jon Bokenkamp had departed, and it was officially airing on a new night. The show technically moved off of its normal Friday night time slot for the last two episodes of Season 8, but it was officially airing in the enviable time slot on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET to kick off the 2021-2022 TV season ahead of the Law & Order shows. Now, however, NBC is moving The Blacklist back to Fridays, and that could be for the best for some key reasons. 

The Blacklist Does Well On Fridays

Friday nights are generally not the hottest time for television, and it sometimes feels that shows that are moved to Fridays are basically sent there to die. When The Blacklist was moved to Fridays starting with Season 6, the ratings did dip pretty drastically, but not to the point that the show got the axe. Although the numbers were worse, they were not bad for Friday nights (via SpoilerTV), and stayed fairly consistent through to Season 8, until its final two episodes somewhat tanked the season average. 

For most shows, moving from a Thursday slot leading into two of the network’s biggest hits to a Friday slot would be a bad sign; for The Blacklist, it’s more or less a return to normal. Prior to the beginning of Season 9, The Blacklist had never aired on Thursdays at 8 p.m. The end isn’t necessarily nigh for The Blacklist just because of the move, and the numbers could actually improve. It regularly experiences boosts in delayed viewership as well

The Blacklist Isn't Moving To Fridays Because It's Failing

While I can’t say whether or not NBC would move the show back to Fridays if it suddenly became primetime’s biggest hit on Thursdays, NBC isn’t bumping The Blacklist back just to give the slot to a randomly chosen other drama. Starting on February 24 in the 2022 TV schedule, the network will air the Law & Order revival on Thursdays at 8 p.m., creating a full night of Law & Order action by using the original to lead into Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. and then Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. 

The goal seems to be to create a solid block for Law & Order Thursdays like what NBC has successfully going on Wednesdays with the three shows of One Chicago, and that had to mean The Blacklist getting the bump to another night. Since it already proved that it could do well enough to warrant renewals on Fridays and considering the inevitability of another Law & Order show, it was only natural that NBC move it back there. 

The Blacklist Will Have Less Competition On Fridays

Friday night just isn’t the hottest night of television, which means that networks generally keep their biggest hits for Sundays – Thursdays. Unfortunately for The Blacklist for the first half of the 2021-2022 TV season, airing on a Thursday at 8 p.m. put it up against Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19, which has been successful on ABC Thursdays for quite some time. In fact, the ratings numbers for The Blacklist’s and Station 19's current seasons (via SpoilerTV) prove that the three strongest episodes of The Blacklist Season 9 have been on nights when Station 19 Season 5 had not yet returned from its winter hiatus. 

The 8 p.m. hour on Thursdays is strong for CBS and Fox as well, with Young Sheldon starting the night for CBS and Joe Millionaire as Fox’s take on The Bachelor winning audiences over with its first season back on TV. There just aren’t as many options on Fridays, and that can work in The Blacklist’s favor. 

Unfortunately, fans have some time to wait before seeing what happens next for Red and Co. on The Blacklist. Like NBC’s biggest hits, the show is on a brief hiatus for the Winter Olympics to take over primetime, but it will be back with more of Season 9 on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET starting on February 25. 

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.