If NBC's Wednesday nights are known for anything for most of the year, it has to be the three-hour One Chicago lineup of three hit shows set in the same TV universe. Due to the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike, however, that One Chicago lineup won't be taking over Wednesday nights as per usual this fall. That said, Chicago P.D. has been back on its usual night with reruns recently, while Chicago Fire and Chicago Med viewers have to find their fixes with a Peacock Premium subscription. So, why Chicago P.D. and not one of the other two shows? Well, I did a little bit of digging after the latest Med- and Fire-free Wednesday, and the answer may be simple.
Chicago P.D. has actually barely taken a week off from primetime since the Season 10 finale that ended on a rough Ruzek cliffhanger back in May, with NBC keeping the Intelligence Unit in the 10 p.m. ET time slot throughout the summer with repeats. It was even paired with Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET for a couple of months, when the LA Fire & Rescue docuseries from Wolf Entertainment was airing in Chicago Med's usual 8 p.m. ET time slot. Then the time came for America's Got Talent to spill over into Wednesday nights once the live shows began, with AGT taking the 8 p.m. ET slot and reruns of Night Court airing at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ahead of Chicago P.D.
NBC just hasn't had three vacant hours on Wednesday nights to fill with One Chicago reruns since the season finales in the spring, but keeping P.D. reruns going has allowed the network to continue its One Chicago Wednesdays to a certain extent. But why Chicago P.D. reruns, when both Med and Fire traditionally have higher night-of ratings during the normal TV season to go along with – and I say this as somebody who loves P.D. – their significantly less depressing storylines?
The most straightforward answer is that 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays is Chicago P.D.'s time slot and has been ever since the three One Chicago series began airing on the same night back in 2018, and schedule consistency is never a bad thing. But I also think that P.D. makes the most sense to re-run out of the three anyway.
For better or worse, P.D. is more of a procedural than the other two shows, with a smaller cast of core characters. It's easier to drop in and out of a season of Chicago P.D. without losing the plot than it is for Fire and Med. Besides, if a combined total of 1,078 episodes between the three current Law & Order shows over the past 30+ years is any indication, crime dramas just hit on NBC!
And yes, Chicago P.D. does generally earn lower night-of-ratings than Chicago Med and Chicago Fire, but the 10 p.m. time slot is generally the least-watched slot on weeknights anyway across the broadcast networks, so Med and Fire would probably experience drops if they started airing last in primetime too. Plus, according to averages from SpoilerTV, P.D. experiences the most significant growth with delayed viewing. For me, the factors combine to make P.D. the right One Chicago fit to re-run on Wednesday nights instead of Fire or Med, for all that three are great shows.
On the whole, I do wish that all this talk of reruns was going to be irrelevant in just a few weeks like it might have been in any other fall, but the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes against the AMPTP mean that there's no date by which we can expect Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med back with new episodes. There are still some viewing options on the way, however, so be sure to check out our 2023 TV schedule!
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).