4. Will it dilute the strength of the brand?
The One Chicago franchise has been built up into NBC’s biggest brand since Law & Order. It may not have the network’s most popular shows anymore, but this is still a strong franchise in a TV landscape where almost every broadcast channel has its franchise somewhere (see: CBS‘s NCIS brand, ABC‘s TGIT, and CW‘s Arrowverse).
At face value, you’d think that putting Chicago Med and Chicago Fire together with Chicago PD would strengthen the One Chicago brand. Perhaps NBC was inspired by how ABC stacked all of those Shonda Rhimes-produced TGIT shows together. But that’s really apples to oranges, since our franchise doesn’t function like any other franchise on TV. There’s an integration that makes it stand out, and in that sense the shows might be worse off together than apart.
There’s been a certain consistency in having a One Chicago series on three consecutive nights, all at the same time. It makes it easy to remember when they’re on, and NBC can promote them all week long. We get ads for Wednesday’s Chicago PD and Thursday’s Chicago Fire when Chicago Med airs on Tuesdays. That means the franchise is almost always around whenever you’re tuned to NBC during primetime.
How will the network promote the shows now? Air a bunch of ads on Tuesdays? Only one day of shows means less opportunities to advertise and that means less times a casual fan or possible new viewer gets tempted to tune in, which again potentially limits the ability to grow the fanbase.
Here’s another thing to consider: one of the great perks of the One Chicago franchise is that a lot of the actors live tweet during episodes, and not just when it’s their own shows. We have people from Chicago Fire who are watching and tweeting Chicago PD, and so on.
It’s another big ask to expect the actors to have the time to live tweet three hours straight, especially if they’re shooting late Wednesday night or have to be there early Thursday morning. It’d be terrible if this new block scheduling means we get less of Randy Flagler‘s awesomely hilarious tweets.