Three’s a charm for the ratings of Dick Wolf’s NBC dramas, all of which benefited from this week’s heavily promoted crossover event between “Chicago Fire,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago P.D.”
Last night’s “Chicago P.D.” hit a series high in total viewers, drawing an audience of 9.5 million — almost a million more than the previous record set when the series debuted in January, according to Nielsen data.
The episode, which capped a child pornography storyline that kicked off Tuesday on “Chicago Fire,” also set a season high and tied its series record in the key adult demographic of 18-to-49-year-olds. It scored a 2.2 rating in the key demo, a benchmark previously reached when “P.D.” and “SVU” did another, less elaborate crossover in February.
In the Chicago market, all three shows trounced the competition in total viewers and the key demo, including Tuesday’s Blackhawks game on Comcast SportsNet.
Locally, “P.D.” logged 481,240 total viewers with the next closest contender being ABC’s “Nashville” with 308,660. The margin was a bit tighter in the preceding hour for “SVU,” which went up against stiffer competition with ABC’s “Modern Family” and “Black-ish.” Even so, “SVU” still won both in the Chicago market (but not nationally). “Chicago Fire” once again spanked its Tuesday time slot opponents in its hometown, snagging 457,580 total viewers — more than twice as many as CBS’ “Person of Interest” and the Hawks game. “Fire” also handily dominated the adult demo.
Across the country, “SVU” hit a season high in adults 18-49 with a 2.4 rating. That wasn’t enough to best ABC’s “Modern Family”/”Black-ish” comedy block, but it did emerge victorious for the first time in a head-to-head battle with an original episode of CBS’s “Criminal Minds.” Excluding season premieres, last night’s 10 million viewers made it the most-watched “SVU” in nearly four years.
The strong performances of “P.D.” and “SVU,” coupled with a special edition of “The Voice,” made the night NBC’s most-watched in-season Wednesday (excluding the Olympics) in six years.
On Tuesday’s largely comedic “Chicago Fire” (it had been chugging along as the funniest episode to date until things turned dark at the end), the series drew its biggest overall audience — 9.1 million — since the season premiere (9.2 million) and its third largest audience ever.
“Fire’s” 2.2 rating in the key demo won the slot among the major broadcast networks by a hefty margin, with CBS’ “Person of Interest” getting a 1.3 rating and ABC’s freshman drama “Forever” notching a 1.0. “Fire” has now beaten or tied the competition for 18-to-49-year-olds for each of its telecasts this season.