CHICAGO JUSTICE To Premiere During Three-Hour Crossover Event
February 28, 2017 by Cameron Ciesil
This Wednesday, in an effort to welcome newcomer CHICAGO JUSTICE into the fold, Dick Wolf’s popular CHICAGO franchise will air a historic crossover event incorporating ALL existing CHICAGO shows as well as its latest addition. CHICAGO FIRE will kick things off at 7PM CST, followed by CHICAGO P.D. at 8PM CST, and CHICAGO JUSTICE will close out at night at 9PM CST. The JUSTICE pilot comes ahead of the more official premiere of JUSTICE this weekend on what will become its regular night and time on Sunday, March 5th at 8PM CST.
Three hours is a certainly a healthy runtime for the night’s overarching story but NBC is hoping some added star power will entice viewers to stick around. Bradley Whitford, the former WEST WING star, is slated to appear in JUSTICE’s portion of the event as an eccentric defense attorney acting in direct opposition to the rest of the JUSTICE cast. Add that to the series’ own Carl Weathers and the crossover’s final hour will give audiences plenty of reasons to tune in.
Although crossover events are nothing new for NBC’s “Chicago” series, this #OneChicago event marks the first “four-part” crossover event. CHICAGO MED isn’t squeezing an episode in as well but characters from the series will be scattered throughout all three of the night’s installments. Similar crossovers have been going on since P.D.’s backdoor pilot back in 2013 and MED’s in 2015. Additionally, creator Dick Wolf has said in the past that characters from LAW AND ORDER: SVU will also appear on JUSTICE, so this crossover really combines elements from five different series. Considering all three existing series have previously received at least a second season order, these events are seemingly a great way to introduce fans to each new entry.
As the fourth CHICAGO series, JUSTICE has big shoes to fill. No series wants to be the first part of the franchise to falter so obviously there’s a lot of pressure for JUSTICE to succeed. If CHICAGO MED’s recent performance is any indication, the franchise could use a boost. Now in its second season, MED averages 6.641 million viewers with a 1.27 rating amongst the precious 18-49 demographic. This places it squarely in the middle of all of NBC’s scripted programming but behind both FIRE and P.D. This is roughly a 16% drop in viewership from its first season when aired Tuesdays and had the benefit of The Voice’s lead in. For reference, FIRE’s fifth season averages 7.191 million viewers with a 1.61 rating from 18-49 year olds and P.D.’s fourth season snags an average of 6.427 million viewers with a 1.41 rating. Obviously, JUSTICE isn’t striving for fourth place but with a tough Sunday night timeslot and the given trend of diminishing returns, it will be very interesting to see where this new addition ends up in the ratings. That being said, all of the CHICAGO shows are still waiting to hear about their respective renewals for additional seasons so anything can happen.