How did Chicago Fire ratings hold up in this latest season? We examine Chicago Fire season 6 ratings and see what they tell us about Chicago Fire’s season.
With Chicago Fire season 6 in the books, we’re taking a more thorough look back at the show’s ratings this season, to get a better look at how the series fared during the 2017-2018 season.
Just as with Chicago Med’s final ratings, before we get into the numbers we have to look at what went into them. NBC shifted Chicago Fire from Tuesdays to Thursdays, so it had to settle in a new time slot.
That new time came with two extended pre-emptions (once for Thursday Night Football, once for the 2018 Winter Olympics) and largely incompatible lead-ins (as Thursday is NBC’s night for its half-hour comedies).
Given that upheaval, it’s not a huge surprise that Chicago Fire season 6 was a rough one for the original One Chicago show.
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Of the 23 episodes produced this season, 12 of them (or roughly half) drew less than 6 million live viewers.
Nine of them were in the 6 million range, while just two episodes reached the mark of 7 million people watching live.
The average live audience for Chicago Fire season 6 was 5.91 million eyeballs.
For comparison, that is 680,000 people less than the average audience for Chicago Med this season when it took over Fire‘s old Tuesday 10 p.m. time slot.
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So what could be the possible causes for a season that should’ve been much stronger than it was?
The pre-emptions didn’t help, but the writers knew about them in advance, so you can’t blame that for everything. The season was written with those breaks in mind. What’s a bigger issue is the lead-ins; as we saw with Med last year, comedies don’t lead into One Chicago well.
Especially not this season, when Fire‘s lead-ins were two new shows, A.P. Bio and Champions. Champions fell hard for NBC, sometimes bringing in less than 3 million live viewers before it was moved to Fridays to finish its season, so Fire had a pretty small pool of lead-in viewers to work with.
Chicago Fire season 6’s highest-rated episode was the season premiere “It Wasn’t Enough” with 7.18 million live watchers. Between the typical high of a season premiere plus everyone tuning in to see who survived the previous season’s cliffhanger, it’s not a huge shock.
The lowest-rated installment was episode 8, “The Whole Point of Being Roommates”, which had just 5.23 million live viewers. In an interesting caveat, episode 19 wasn’t far behind as 5.24 million was the final mark for “Where I Want To Be.”
Similar to what we saw with Chicago Med, the biggest slide in Chicago Fire ratings happened at the end of the season, though Fire‘s was a much longer issue. Only one of the final eight episodes surpassed 5.5 million. With a down period of about two months, you can’t blame that all on NBC’s scheduling.
There’s no doubt that Chicago Fire had a less than ideal year in the TV ratings, and it needs to try and bounce back next season. The six to seven-season mark is when it’s common for series to show their age, and Fire won’t even have a lead-in this fall—it has to start NBC’s new Wednesday night block. So keep an eye on the numbers because things may or may not get any easier for the Firehouse 51 crew.