How many shows on television do you know that offer a guilt-free antihero as its protagonist? Well, I certainly cannot think of many, and I believe that is the inaugural case as to why NBC’s The Blacklist has been this Fall’s number one show. The idea behind it is that an ingenious, criminal mastermind for some apparent reason starts to assist the FBI catch the world’s most wanted criminals, some of which they did not know existed. Although I am already a fan of the show, I do think that The Blacklist does borrow much of its premise from USA’s White Collar. I feel Andy Greenwald describes the show best when he says, “It’s a cop procedural with a criminal as the lead investigator.”
By using Greenwald’s description, who can we guess to have been NBC’s target audience? Yes it is a cop show, and that to me is a telltale sign that their audience is primarily between the ages of 18 to 49. Yet, I think that the starring role combination of Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen and James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington together capture more female and male viewers together than they would in solo roles. That was a great decision to appeal to this audience, not only because it has the broadest age range, but because they are the ones that watch the most primetime television. And for the purposes of this essay, The Blacklist airs Monday nights.
Let us analyze that particular time in which the show premiers, immediately after The Voice. Because we know that The Voice is in the top ten for most watched shows, the timeslot following it can be considered prime real estate for other shows. That is how I and many others began to watch the show, because Carson Daily would close with, “…stay tuned for The Blacklist.” That was a perfect way to establish a relationship with its targeted audience, many of which also watch the hip, chair-turning voice competition.
Aside from using The Voice as a Segway for success, I think NBC had other reasons as to why we see Elizabeth and Red on Mondays. That answer is competition. Currently, The Blacklist faces its largest competition from CBS’s Hostages and ABC’s Castle. Although all three shows air at the same time, I see this as benefit for our show of discussion because the other two are new or roughly new shows. Because of this, those programs do not have as loyal of a fan base that syndicated shows like How I Met Your Mother do. In turn, The Blacklist has a better opportunity to gain viewers.
Conversely, it is disadvantageous to start premiering the show Thursday nights alongside its aforementioned rival White Collar, or even say The Big Bang Theory, but not as much as it would have been just several years ago. Why is that? Well first let us answer what would happen if The Blacklist did premier on Thursday nights this Fall. Because that time is the most primetime of primetime slots, thus not as many viewers would have tuned into see the show. They probably were loyally watching their other favorite programs at that time.