The Chicago franchise is doing well in the Wednesday night ratings as of late, and NBC has decided to reward each of the Dick Wolf dramas. Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD were all granted additional episodes, in what will elevate each series to an episode count comparable to past seasons. Each Chicago series was gifted two additional episodes, which means each drama will at least have a full 22-episode season for fans to invest in.
The upped episode count will continue Chicago Fire's trend of delivering at least 22 episodes a season. Chicago PD has done the same outside of Season 1, which only featured 15 episodes. This will be the first time Chicago Med has gone above 20 episodes since Season 2.
Deadline reports the additional episodes come after NBC's #OneChicago movement ushered in all the shows airing back-to-back on Wednesday nights for the first time. It was seemingly an effort to encourage viewers to tune in all on the same night, and the people have spoken.
The strategy appears to be an effective one, as NBC has seen measured success in its ratings and viewership totals since the Chicago-centric lineup debuted the most recent seasons. This includes the three-hour crossover event that aired on Wednesday, October 5, which resulted in Chicago Med bringing in around 1.7 million viewers more than its season premiere the week prior. The mega-crossover propelled Chicago Med to become the most-watched program of the evening, and has resulted in a higher viewership turnout when compared to this timeframe last season.
The joint episode increase makes it appear as though NBC intends to keep the #OneChicago train rolling, and will possibly keep the same number of episodes for each successive season. This has not always been the case in past years, but it appears each show could be united on the Wednesday night front, barring future changes. Keeping the Chicago series' episode counts even ensures viewers are glued to their televisions accordingly, making them less likely to flip channels if one show is airing reruns.
This is certainly welcome news ahead of each Chicago show's midseason finale, which will all precede the winter break until they all return in 2019. NBC has yet to release its 2019 midseason schedule, so it's unclear if all three will be returning on the same night. If not, it will be interesting to see how each performs for their respective returns, where carryover viewership from the prior show may not be as likely.
It's a question for 2019 to answer as there is still one more new week of #OneChicago to enjoy in 2018. It all kicks off on NBC with Chicago Med beginning Wednesday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Those curious as to what other shows are airing in the near future need only reference our fall and midseason premiere guides for a look at what else is happening on television.