When Will 'The Blacklist' Return?

James Spader is having a moment. Not only is he kinda sorta starring in the No. 1 movie in America — Avengers: Age of Ultron (albeit as the voice of the murderous A.I. Ultron) — but the movie is topping the charts right as his show, The Blacklist, is airing a season finale that promises to be "game-changing." Can Spader keep up his streak? Did NBC renew The Blacklist for Season 3? [UPDATE: Deadline reports The Blacklist will return Oct. 1.]

If you're a fan of Spader's particular brand of smarm, you have nothing to worry about. NBC renewed The Blacklist for a third season. Though its ratings aren't as good as they were in the first season, they've managed to hold steady, sometimes even gaining ground between it and the ratings juggernaut that is Scandal. "ABC’s Scandal continues to be the drama leader in demos over NBC’s The Blacklist in their high-profile Thursday battles, but a slump by the former has allowed the latter to close the gap," Variety reported at the end of March. "The Blacklist edged up while Scandal hit another low." Its ability to grow its ratings even slightly in the wake of such tough competition made it a lock for a third season.

Lots of us TV mega fans were wondering if NBC would tinker with The Blacklist's time slot in order to get the show back to its first-season ratings. It did better on Mondays, at a time when there was lower competition, so many speculated that it would end up back on Mondays where it began. Still, there were advantages to keeping the show put.

"While more than a few TV-industry insiders consider NBC’s move of The Blacklist a massive mistake — the show’s ratings are way down on Thursdays — it’s still too early to declare the experiment a failure," Vulture reported. "If NBC surrounds Blacklist with better shows next fall and the show’s producers come up with the right twist or guest star, it’s very possible Blacklist will start growing again — just as Scandal begins to slowly age and as CBS and Fox struggle to launch hit shows on the night."

It looks like that's exactly what NBC is going to do. When it returns in the fall, The Blacklist will keep its time slot of Thursday at 9 p.m. (There' no need to adjust the DVR for conflicts.) What about that big ratings decline? NBC hopes to bolster the show with a better lead in, the much-hyped Heroes: Reborn, which will air at 8 p.m. I personally think the whole second-coming-of-Heroes schtick is lame — who wants to watch a revival of a show that wasn't good enough to keep around to begin with? Seriously, if you look deep within yourself, you'll realize that Heroes wasn't ever good, it was just the only superhero choice at the time.

We've gotten so many much better superhero shows since then. Is Heroes: Reborn gonna cut it when we've got Daredevil at our disposal on Netflix, and A.K.A. Jessica Jones on tap? Still, NBC thinks it'll work, and that the rising tide of Heroes: Reborn will float the boat of The Blacklist.

So when will all of this happen? No premiere dates have been announced for The Blacklist Season 3 or Heroes: Reborn, they are just being promoted as returning in the fall. However, the first two seasons of The Blacklist premiered on Sept. 23 and 22, respectively, so it's safe to assume that Season 3 will make its debut around the same time, most likely on Thursday, Sept. 24.

And, by my unscientific calculations, Age of Ultron will just be leaving theaters by then, so you'll never have a Spader dry spell.

Images: Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Giphy