One Chicago ratings drop in franchise’s long-awaited return

ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal) /

One Chicago ratings for January 13, 2021.

The first One Chicago ratings of the new year were fairly as expected, but two of the three series did drop slightly with their delayed midseason premieres.

All three shows had been off the air since November for their standard winter break, then had their original return date pushed back an extra week due to the events at the U.S. Capitol. As such, it was a pretty lengthy delay for the NBC franchise.

Chicago Fire dropped from 7.55 million live viewers to 7.06 million for “Smash Therapy” in the 8:00 p.m. Wednesday slot. That was a decrease of -0.49 or about a half million people from the last new episode.

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But against some fairly soft competition, including FOX’s revival of Name That Tune, the show still topped the broadcast TV charts for the evening. It also picked up in the key demographic of adults 18-49, going back up to a 1.0 after falling to 0.9 the last time out.

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Meanwhile, Chicago PD actually picked up viewers after the hiatus. Its return episode “Tender Age” jumped from 6.19 million people watching live to 6.40 million (+0.21, or 210,000), making this the highest-rated episode of season 8 (although that’s an admittedly short list at the moment).

The episode picked up a tenth in the key demo to go from 0.8 to 0.9, meaning that it improved in every respect.

Which brings us to Chicago Med, which led off the night of premieres with “Do You Know The Way Home.” The episode’s 7.41 million live audience was down from the prior 7.62 million (-0.21, or a loss of 210,000 people). It was the lowest-rated episode of season 5 so far.

The medical drama held steady with a 1.0 in the demo category; the same score that it had for its prior episode.

Overall the One Chicago franchise continued to top the broadcast TV ratings, which is the bottom line, but it is worth noting that two of the three shows came back with smaller audiences—did a few people forget it was on this week after being pushed back? Did the sudden break, without any cliffhangers to resolve, not have the same momentum as past seasons normally carry into a new year?

It’s also worth pointing out that Chicago PD gained a decent chunk of audience, when normally that show lags behind the other two. If that trend continues, PD could get on the same ratings level as Fire and Med, and then NBC would have a really unstoppable franchise.

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