2ND UPDATE, 3:40PM: No one can deny that Thursday was a good night for NBC’s live The Sound Of Music, but final numbers are in and a figuratively louder show took the top spot after all. Previously tied with Music at a 4.6 in adults 18-49 in fast nationals, The Big Bang Theory saw a two-tenths rise to 4.8/14 to win the demo. The Sound Of Music remained the most-watched show of the night with 18.6 million viewers. Fox’s The X Factor also saw a rise from 1.3/4 to 1.4/4, and ABC’s Scandal went down a tenth from 3.1/8 to 3.0/8.
PREVIOUS, 8:53 AM: Are we headed back to the Golden Age of television? NBC’s live staging of The Sound Of Music, a throwback to the 1950s era of live TV musicals, drew a big 4.6 rating in adults 18-49 last night and 18.5 million viewers, giving NBC something it had not seen in a long while — a dominating win on Thursday night. This was NBC’s best adults 18-49 Thursday average with non-sports programming in 4.5 years, since the night of the ER finale in April 2009, and the largest Thursday audience in 9.5 years, since the night of the Frasier finale in May 2004. Because this was the first live TV musical since the 1950s, it is hard to find a fair comparison. The last longform live staging on TV — CBS’ two-hour production of Fail Safe in 2000 — averaged 15.9 million viewers and a 5.8 in 18-49 in a far less crowded TV environment. It was less accessible than Sound Of Music — a Cold War nuclear crisis drama in black and white — but like Sound Of Music, which was headlined by Carrie Underwood, it too boasted star power, with George Clooney leading a star-studded cast. Fail Safe did get a follow-up, a live staging of On Golden Pond. It will be interesting to see if The Sound Of Music will spawn a musical franchise for NBC.
Despite lukewarm reviews, Sound Of Music brought in football-size audience, on par with the 18.9 million that NBC averaged in primetime last Thursday with an NFL game. It tied the highest-rated series on broadcast TV, CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory (4.6), which was pushed down 11% from its most recent original. Freshman CBS comedies The Millers (2.5) and The Crazy Ones (2.1), which are very lead-in-dependent, also were down, by 11% and 5%, respectively, while veteran Two And A Half Men (2.3) was up 10%. Elementary was flat. ABC’s Once Upon A Time (1.0) and Scandal (3.1) posted ratings gains vs. their most recent originals (11% and 7%, respectively), but the network was pre-empted for an NFL game in Houston, so a downward adjustment is in order. Grey’s Anatomy (2.4) was down 8%. Fox aired originals on Thanksgiving, making for a very favorable week-to-week comparison (but still very soft performance.) The X Factor (1.3) was up 30%, and Glee (1.1) was up 22%. The CW’s Vampire Diaries (1.0) was down 23%, Reign (0.6) was down a tenth.
PREVIOUS: The fast nationals aren’t in yet, but NBC’s live The Sound of Music looks to have had a very good night. In metered market results, the three-hour special starring Carrie Underwood pulled in a 10.9/18 primetime average for the network. That’s far ahead of second place CBS’ 6.2/10 on Thursday and up slightly from the 10.7/22 result NBC had last Thursday as its primetime average when the network had the Thanksgiving NFL match-up of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Baltimore Ravens. Head-to-head, last Thursday’s NFL game, which went out of primetime, beat the Von Trapps with the 11.8/24 it received. Out of the 56 markets covered, the top local metered market household result for the Sound of Music Live! last night was in Underwood’s home state with Oklahoma City giving it a 20.7/28.