Case Profile for The Blacklist Season 7 Renewal
May 12 2018, fans of the The Blacklist around the world waited with bated breath for news if Raymond “Red” Reddington and Elizabeth Keen would be continuing their cat and mouse game for a sixth season. That Saturday was stressful as the the NBC Network Upfront presentation for advertisers was first up on Monday morning May 14th. But the call finally came in early Saturday evening. Season six is a go, but not until the winter schedule. Why did this network darling, +19% in adults 18-49 for the Wednesday 8PM time slot vs. Blindspot the previous year, take so long to get the season six renewal, and what does any of this have to do with season seven?
The negotiations hinged on a few things. In today’s television eco system networks are moving to a 100% ownership model meaning if NBC is going to air a show it will come from Universal Television, ABC would come from ABC Studios, etc. This allows them to keep costs in house and ultimately makes the show and the parent company more profitable. The Blacklist prior to season 6 was owned 75% by Sony Pictures Television and 25% by NBC, the network on which it airs. NBC clearly wanted more stake in the ownership option so part of the deal was to move to a 50% co-ownership model.
Sony also has a stake in the shows international rights and lucrative streaming VOD deal with Netflix. Hence it is in the best interest of Sony to keep the first run on the air as long as possible in order to rake in the cash from these two revenue streams. It was this extra cash that Sony was able to negotiate with, as NBC wanted a reduction in licensing fees. Sony also had other shows they wanted to bundle with the deal, a kind of you get this if you also take this mentality. But when the Bad Boys spinoff “LA’s Finest” was passed over along with the comedy “Guess Who Died” things were not looking good for the Blacklisters.
If that wasn’t enough then there were contracts with the actors that had to be considered. James Spader (Raymond Reddington) had inked a one year extension previously that would keep him with the show through a seventh season. But the other original cast members Megan Boone (Elizabeth Keen), Diego Klattenhoff (Donald Ressler) and Harry Lennix (Harold Cooper) had contracts set to expire in season six. It was extending these contracts, along with a story pitch from Executive Producers John Eisendrath and Jon Bokenkamp that made this seventh season possible. In fact season seven was already in the works when a two year deal was done all the way back on that Saturday evening in 2018 as long as the cast renewed their contracts. Today those contracts are now in place and The Blacklist Season 7 is a go.
With The Blacklist still pulling in a high DVR following given its current Friday Night time slot. The fan base is still high on The Blacklist patiently waiting for how Red will escape from his current situation, how Liz will find out who this man really is and if Katarina Rostova is still alive. The Blacklist airs a two part episode the next two weeks that will set the show up for more great Blacklisters, both this year and for The Blacklist Season 7!
In addition to Spader, Boone, Klattenhoff and Lennix, The Blacklist also stars Amir Arison, Mozhan Marnò and Hisham Tawfiq. Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath, John Davis, John Fox, James Spader, Lukas Reiter, J.R. Orci, Carla Kettner and Laura A. Benson serve as executive producers.