'The Blacklist' Leads The Way For Resurgent NBC

Dwight Wade

The Blacklist ran away with the ratings battle for Monday's 10-11 prime time slot. The James Spader vehicle dropped slightly from last week, according to TV By The Numbers, but easily outpaced ABC's Castle and NCIS: LA over on CBS.

9.4 million viewers tuned in for The Blacklist on Monday, compared to last week's 9.8 million. The Blacklist led the ever so important 18-49 demographic over NCIS: LA by 41 percent (2.4-1.7).

These numbers are good signs for NBC after struggling to scrape the bottom of the major network's barrel across the better part of a decade. For eight years The Peacock consistently finished fourth (of four) in the annual network ratings battle. 2012 finally saw them jump all the way to third. The network best known for the hits Friends, Frasier, and Law and Order had recently struggled to find a scripted show they could count on. Each year began with the promise of fresh starts, only to fall apart under the weight of bad reviews and worse writing.

Then, along came James Spader and the network was reborn.

The Blacklist teamed with The Voice, the Sochi Winter Olympics and Sunday Night Football to lead NBC back to the promised land. According to TVline.com, NBC posted an average 2.7 rating (Adults 18-49) for the 2013-2014 season. For the first time in over ten years NBC led the ratings battle where it mattered most.

NBC has carried that momentum into this new season, posting it's third straight Premier Week win with an average rating of 3.0 in the 18-49 demographic. The Blacklist made the top ten for the week with an audience of 17.4 million to go along-side strong showings from The Voice, Sunday Night Football, and the Chi-Town dual threat of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.

The Blacklist followed up it's strong start by leading Monday's 10-11 time slot every week since it's debut September 22. NBC is counting on the hit drama to draw eyes back to the resurgent network. However, the folks at Rockafeller Center have to be confident with their current slate, debuting only one new show this fall. Though panned by critics, the Debra Messing comedy Mysteries of Laura has managed to turn in respectable numbers, including 10 million total viewers during premier week.

Yes, things used to be bad for NBC, but they no longer have to watch from the back. The Blacklist has finally given NBC a reliable workhorse of a show. They've ridden it right to the top and they don't appear ready to get down.