NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ Holding Up Best Among Fall’s New Series

It's broadcast TV's No. 1 drama in 18-49; NBC wins week in demo, CBS on top in total viewers

"The Blacklist" Enters Make or Break

The final two games of the World Series put Fox in the hunt, but it was NBC that prevailed in young adults last week, behind its trio of “The Voice,” “Sunday Night Football” and “The Blacklist.”

The James Spader drama has been the most consistently strong of the fall’s new shows, and is the No. 1-rated broadcast drama on any net in the adults 18-49 demo through six weeks of the season — a  bit ahead of ABC’s veteran “Grey’s Anatomy” and newcomer “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”

Sure, having the top-rated music contest “The Voice” as a lead-in has provided sampling for “Blacklist” that no other first-year series has enjoyed, but it is also evident that the drama has recruited hordes of fans who opt to time-shift the program and watch it later that week.

When including three days of DVR playback, “The Blacklist” has now improved for three straight weeks (going from a 4.53 rating in adults 18-49 on Oct. 7, to a 4.54 on Oct. 14, a 4.57 on Oct. 21 and then a 4.76 on Oct. 28), according to Nielsen estimates. And in total viewers, it has claimed the three biggest builds of any show in the DVR era; last week’s episode surged 4.95 million, going from 10.51 in Live+same-day to 15.46 million in L3.

NBC has been down this road before with “Revolution” and “Smash” — two other shows that started strong behind “The Voice” — but “The Blacklist” has held up better in its second month on the air than the previous pair.

ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD,” Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” and CBS’ “The Crazy Ones” remain the season’s other top new programs among adults 18-49, though they haven’t been as consistent.

Overall for the Oct. 28-Nov. 3 frame, NBC led in adults 18-49 for the fifth time in six weeks this season. Its 2.4 rating/7 share was followed by Fox (2.3/7), CBS (2.2/6) and ABC (1.9/6). CBS edged ahead in adults 25-54, as it often does in weeks it has an NFL primetime overrun on Sunday, while also winning once again in total viewers.

The week was a mix of originals and repeats, as some nets sneaked in some pre-sweeps encores and special episodes of reality shows, while CBS opted not to air an original of “The Big Bang Theory” on Halloween, which was the start of the four-week ratings period.

For NBC, “Sunday Night Football” led the way, even with a lower-than-usual delivery for its Indianapolis-Houston matchup (6.3/16 in 18-49, 17.04m). It finished second among all primetime programs for the week, behind only AMC’s amazing “The Walking Dead” (6.8/16 in 18-49, 13.31m).

A special Halloween-themed “Saturday Night Live” clips show boosted the net in Thursday’s opening hour (1.7/6 in 18-49, 5.32m), but that didn’t lift the rookie comedies airing behind it: “Sean Saves the World” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.72m) and “The Michael J. Fox Show” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.34m).

In its second outing, Friday drama “Dracula” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.39m) fell week-to-week by more than its “Grimm” lead-in (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.96m), but still edged ahead of CBS’ “Blue Bloods” in 18-49.

CBS’ top series in a week with no original “Big Bang Theory” were “How I Met Your Mother” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 7.75m) and “NCIS” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 19.30m). The net had a chance to measure the strength of its new Thursday comedies without “Big Bang” leading off the night, and “The Millers” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 9.67m) and “The Crazy Ones” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 8.06m) predictably hit lows.

Following NFL action, “60 Minutes” (3.2/8 in 18-49, 15.81m) and “The Amazing Race” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 9.38m) posted their second best scores of the season, leading into “The Good Wife” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 10.22m), which matched its season high in demos while drawing its biggest overall audience since April of last year.

Fox’s week was powered by the concluding games of the World Series on Monday (4.1/11 in 18-49, 14.45m) and Wednesday (5.7/16 in 18-49, 19.18m). The Fall Classic ended up averaging 14.9 million viewers for its six games — up 17% from last year’s all-time low of 12.7 million for a four-game series.

In between the baseball action, though, it was slow going for a special Tuesday episode of “The X Factor” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.90m), as the music show continues to slog through its lowest-rated season to date.

ABC had pretty good showings for its rookie comedies, including “The Goldbergs” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 5.43m) and “Trophy Wife” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.33m) on Tuesday, which, for the first time, didn’t face Fox comedy competition. “Goldbergs” matched its week-earlier rating despite a repeat “Agents of SHIELD” lead-in this time around, and the latter was up 17% week to week.

And Wednesday’s Super Fun Night” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 5.17m) dropped off as expected without a first-run “Modern Family” lead-in, but still retained a pretty good 81% of its week-earlier 18-49 average.

ABC saw gains for Sunday dramas “Once Upon a Time” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 7.55m), “Revenge” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 6.33m) and “Betrayal” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.44m). It also won the opening Friday of a November sweep in 18-49 for the first time in 15-years, with “Last Man Standing” Friday (1.4/5 in 18-49, 6.36m), “Shark Tank” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.31m) and “20/20” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 7.65m) all leading their timeslots in the demo.

CW had good news regarding sophomore Friday drama “The Carrie Diaries” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.89m), whose second episode of the season shot up to a 0.5 rating in adults 18-34 (from a 0.2 for its premiere) — a better number than either of the net’s Monday dramas, “Hart of Dixie” or “Beauty and the Beast.”

The net’s top show, “The Vampire Diaries,” again showed huge gains in Live+3 DVR playback. Last week’s episode surged 89% in adults 18-34 within three days (1.45 vs. 0.77), and its women 18-34 more than doubled (2.1 vs. 1.0).

In cable, the best performing non-“Walking Dead” entertainment series of the week remained FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 4.20m) and “American Horror Story” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 3.71m).

Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 3.11million viewers overall) opened its season nicely, leading among cable nets in 18-49 at 8 p.m., and standing as cable’s No. 2 series of the night in women 18-49 (2.1/5), behind only “The Walking Dead.”

And it was a good start to the NBA season on Tuesday night for ESPN, whose Miami-Chicago contest did a bouncy 2.5/7 in 18-49 and 5.37 million viewers overall.

(In millions of viewers)

Adults 18-49

NBC             2.4/7
Fox              2.3/7
CBS              2.2/6
ABC              1.9/6
UNI              1.2/3
CW               0.6/2
TEL               0.5/1

Total Viewers

CBS           10.50 million
Fox              7.70 million
ABC             7.43 million
NBC            7.43 million
UNI             3.23 million
CW              1.58 million
TEL             1.20 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 6.8/16
2.  Sunday Night Football (NBC), 6.3/16
3.  World Series: Game 6-Wednesday (Fox), 5.7/16
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 4.3/11
5.  Monday Night Football (ESPN), 4.2/12
6.  World Series: Game 5-Monday (Fox), 4.1/11
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.6/10
8.  60 Minutes (CBS), 3.2/8
9.  The Blacklist (NBC), 3.1/8
10.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 3.0/9
10.  NCIS (CBS), 3.0/9
12.  Scandal (ABC), 2.9/9
13.  Saturday Night Football (ABC), 2.8/9
14.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.7/7
15.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 2.6/9
15.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.6/8
15.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.6/7
18.  Thursday Night Football (NFLN), 2.5/8
18.  NBA: Miami-Chicago (TNT), 2.5/7
18.  The Big Bang Theory-Monday 9 p.m. (CBS), 2.5/6
18.  Family Guy (Fox), 2.5/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 18.99
2.  World Series: Game 6-Wednesday (Fox), 19.18
3.  Sunday Night Football (NBC), 17.04
4.  60 Minutes (CBS), 15.81
5.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 14.90
6.  World Series: Game 5-Monday (Fox), 14.45
7.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 13.31
8.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 13.28
9.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 13.22
10.  Person of Interest (CBS), 12.00
11.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 11.80
12.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.62
13.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.01
14.  Monday Night Football (ESPN), 10.76
15.  Castle (ABC), 10.69
16.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.64
17.  The Blacklist (NBC), 10.51
18.  The Good Wife (CBS), 10.22
19.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 9.71
20.  The Millers (CBS), 9.67