When this season’s fall broadcast schedules were unveiled in May, one of the most questionable moves to us was NBC relocating Blindspot from a protected post-Voice time slot on Monday nights to the 8pm anchor position on Wednesday nights opposite Survivor on CBS, The Goldbergs/Speechless on ABC and Lethal Weapon on FOX.
Wednesday nights at 8pm has been a trouble slot for NBC since the early 1990s. One of the more recent casualties was Revolution, which led out of The Voice on Monday nights for its first season (2012-2013) with an average of 10.5 L+7 viewers to place 31st in the annual Nielsen rankings. But its move to Wednesday nights was costly: a 31% decrease in L+SD viewership, a 34% decrease in L+7 viewership and cancellation by the end of the season.
Wednesday night time slot predecessor The Mysteries of Laura fared better during its two-season run with an average of 8.3 million L+7 viewers. (Despite a 7% year-over-year increase in viewership, its cancellation was similarly due to low ratings in the ridiculously still all-important A1849 demo and a higher concentration of older viewers that continue to be foolishly undervalued by the networks).
So far this season, Blindspot is averaging 5.5 L+SD viewers through 1/15/17 and 8.26 L+7 viewers through 12/18/16. Though only 4% off from Laura in the latter metric last season, this is a respective 19% below last season’s L+SD average and 23% below last season’s L+7 average. And while the show wasn’t expected to maintain its post-Voice viewership, its viewership this season has declined 30% in L+SD viewership and 17% in L+7 viewership since premiere week in September.
Additionally, its January 4th midseason return came in 9% below its season average to that date in L+SD viewership — though it improved on its November 16th fall finale by 3%.
Mitigating some of these declines is its L+7 DVR lift, which is averaging 48% and 2.78 million viewers — though last season, its lift was 56% and 3.86 million viewers.
But Timeless, the show’s Monday night time slot successor, is averaging 5.25 million L+SD viewers through 1/16/17 with a 68% L+7 DVR lift adding 3.58 million viewers for a cumulative viewership of 8.83 million — respectively 5% below, 12 percentage points above, 7% below and 22% below Blindspot in the time slot last season.
So the post-Voice to Wednesday anchor time slot change has been a mixed bag for Blindspot. Its viewership declines aren’t as steep as they were for Revolution, but they are noticeable. It’s viewership is on par with that of Laura. And its post-Voice performance does exceed that of time slot successor Timeless in most metrics.
Still, if NBC is going to try to launch a new series behind its flagship series, they need to give those new shows at least two or three seasons to establish themselves before tasking them with anchoring another night in a trouble time slot — or at least more than one season to make some progress in that new trouble time slot.