The one way One Chicago’s early hiatus could help the franchise

One Chicago franchise 2019-2020 season key art featuring the casts of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC.
One Chicago franchise 2019-2020 season key art featuring the casts of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC. /

One Chicago fans are missing new episodes of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med, but One Chicago’s early hiatus could help the franchise in one way.

It’s been almost three weeks since Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD ended their seasons prematurely, leaving One Chicago fans disappointed. But there’s a silver lining that might benefit the franchise in the long run.

The current world health crisis forced production on hundreds of TV shows, including the Chicago series, to shut down ahead of schedule. When filming wrapped in mid-March, each of the shows was three episodes short of its planned order.

That left NBC no choice but to wind up the seasons early. And while that’s disappointing news for fans who wait eagerly for every single episode, it was also completely understandable, given that the coronavirus pandemic is still an ongoing problem for more than just TV production.

It’s also not all bad news, because there are One Chicago reruns.

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That may not sound like much, but NBC has made a point of putting repeats on every Wednesday since the season finales—something that the network has rarely done during normal summer hiatuses.

While they’ve been airing plenty of repeats of other series, like Dick Wolf‘s other series Law & Order: SVU and Ellen’s Game of Games, One Chicago fans have been left to turn to places like Hulu and iTunes if they want to watch Fire, PD or Med again.

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But right now, with little other choice, NBC is keeping the One Chicago franchise on the air and fans are still tuning in. Last Wednesday’s (April 29) repeats drew a decent audience; the 4.93 million watching a second-run Chicago Med live was better than anything that aired on ABC or The CW, and within striking distance of a new SWAT on CBS (at 4.99 million). The only series that truly beat Med were a new SEAL Team (5.82), new The Masked Singer (7.84), and a new Survivor (8.04).

Do the math, and that means an old episode of Chicago Med was the third most-watched scripted series last Wednesday night.

Chicago Fire also pulled in a reasonable audience (of 4.28 million), while Chicago PD lagged well behind (at just 3.71 million).

If the repeats continue to bring in a decent audience into the summer, then NBC may re-evaluate their history of not showing them—which would make reruns more accessible to viewers who don’t want to subscribe to Hulu (or soon to be Peacock). While streaming services are great, TV repeats will always be easier, and cheaper, for fans to get to.

And they’ve always been a sticking point for this franchise. Since only Chicago PD is syndicated, it’s not easy for people to catch up, especially if they’re looking for an episode that’s older than a few weeks. NBC on Demand keeps a certain number of episodes from the current season, but after that, you’ll have to dig into your own pockets for either a subscription or to purchase what you want to watch.

Especially since the network is taking a completely different approach with SVU, it’s been a head-scratcher. But ratings numbers carry a lot of weight, and so far these numbers are pretty good. If they get NBC to give even a little more exposure to One Chicago over the summer, that will be one positive to come out of the negative of a shortened season.

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