NBC’s Windy City-based procedurals didn’t need to be resuscitated, but “Chicago Med” got TV viewers’ hearts racing last night anyway.
The spinoff is now the third series in the Dick Wolf Chicago universe, which also includes the strong “Chicago Fire” and solid “Chicago P.D.” The way things are looking, a theoretical “Chicago DMV” could even hold its own in primetime.
On Tuesday, “Med” was the top scripted show of the night, premiering to a 2.2 rating/7 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, along with 8.6 million total viewers. For an imperfect comparison, that 9 p.m. debut was 29 percent above the Season 3 premiere of “Chicago P.D.,” which aired at 10 o’clock.
It hasn’t all been roses for the “Chicago” shows this season: “Fire” dropped 31 percent in ratings with its Oct. 13 premiere. To be fair, however, it was up against a CNN Democratic debate, which sent several broadcast offerings crashing by double digits.
Of course, scheduling also played a part in Tuesday’s triumph. Newcomer “Chicago Med” had the benefit of premiering after a “Voice” lead-in. And the 9 o’clock slot wasn’t even originally meant for “Med” — NBC swapped out “Heartbreaker” due to Melissa George’s pregnancy.
It also provided a new platform for “Fire,” which reached its top rating without its own “Voice” lead-in since last November. NBC regularly wins Tuesdays with that combo, and fares well on Wednesdays with “Law & Order: SVU” and “P.D.” While “Empire” still rules that roost, NBC finished first in viewers last week.
“Med’s” biggest contribution may come with a mega-mega-crossover slated for February. Wolf’s “Fire” and “P.D.” previously played with his New York-based series, “SVU,” to excellent numbers.
In total viewers, excluding each show’s season-premiere episodes, both of the two most-watched telecasts last season for “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago P.D.” came with the November and April crossover events.
“Fire” and “P.D.” were renewed earlier this month for their fifth and fourth seasons, respectively.