UPDATE, 8:27 AM: The Sound Of Music Live! still reigns supreme through the ratings hills by its fingertips but Grease Live has got some hydromatic fuel of its own and isn’t far behind – at all. With a 4.3/13 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.18 million viewers in unadjusted preliminary ratings, last night’s Fox’s live 3-hour extravaganza is a mere 7% in the demo behind NBC’s blockbuster initial live musical offering of December 5, 2013. In total viewership, SOML! drew a massive audience of 18.62 million.
However, among the 18-49s and in viewership, Grease Live well topped the Comcast-owed net’s most recent live musical offering of The Wiz Live! The Alex Rudzinski and Thomas Kail co-directed Grease Live beat the December 3, 2015 offering by 26% in fast affiliates compared to final numbers. Now, granted The Wiz Live! did face a very well watched and dramatic Green Bay Packers tight win over Detroit Lions on CBS. Still, early ratings to early ratings, the 7-10 PM Grease Live of Sunday night tops the nearly 3-hour The Wiz Live! by 30% in the demo. Viewershipwise, Fox’s offering was pretty steady with the Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige starring NBC show of last year, with just a 6% advantage – however, that’s before the final and likely adjusted Grease Live numbers come in.
As it is, Fox easily won the night in both the demo and in total viewership. In fact, last night’s Grease Live was the best Fox has done all season with the exception of the 6.7/20 rating and 16.18 million viewers that the Season 2 debut of Empire got on September 23 last year. And on Twitter, there were 1.2 million tweets about the show with the majority of them mentioning star Vanessa Hudgens, who lost her father this weekend before the live broadcast.
There were other things on the Big 4 last night besides Grease Live of course, with a special 8-11 PM American Ninja Warriors: USA Vs. The World (1.4/5) the second highest rated and show of the night. That gave NBC the second spot overall with a 1.3/4 rating but CBS got the number #2 rank in viewership with 8.56 million watching. That CBS result was certainly helped by the 10.14 million who tuned in for Madam Secretary (1.1/3) the night before the Iowa Caucuses. The Tea Leoni starring was up a tenth over its last non-NFL inflated original and The Good Wife (1.0/3) was down a tenth. With the NFL’s AFC Championship game bumped CBS’s schedule a few minutes last week, Sunday’s 60 Minutes (1.1/3) was down 39%. ABC’s only original of the night was the Season 2 finale of Galavant (0.6/2), which was up 20% from last week but down 45% from its Season 1 ender of January 25 last year. The biggest shifter of the night was NBC’s 7 PM Dateline (1.0/3), which was up 67% in the key demo.
PREVIOUS, 6:36 AM: Not unexpectedly, come rain or shine, it turns out Grease is very much the word for Fox. Up against an almost full night of competition from its fellow Big 4 networks and the NFL’s Pro Bowl, Grease Live scored a 7.4/11 in metered market results for Fox last night.
That’s pretty steady for the three-hour live musical co-directed by Alex Rudzinski and Thomas Kail compared with the 7.9/13 MM result the The Wiz Live! drew for NBC on December 3 last year. Grease: Live is just 6% behind The Wiz Live! in overnights results. Facing a close Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game on CBS, that Thursday performance of the 1970s musical went on to get a 3.4/11 rating among adults 18-49 with 11.5 million total viewers. Results for Grease, which starred Aaron Tveit, Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens, look to be in the same range based on metered market numbers.
In MM results, Fox easily topped the night, with CBS coming in second with a 6.0/9, NBC third with a 2.9/5, and a mostly encore-filled ABC in fourth place with a 1.5/2.
Of course, The Wiz Live! was an improvement for NBC over its previous live musical outing of Peter Pan Live! That December 4, 2014 broadcast pulled in a 5.9/19 rating in MM results, which was a 46% fall from the blockbuster 10.9/18 result NBC’s first live musical The Sound Of Music Live! had on a Thursday, December 5, 2013, for the Comcast-owned net. Compared to the overnights for the Carrie Underwood led SOML!, last night’s Grease Live, which was Fox’s first but not last foray into the 21st century live-musical realm, was down 32%.
We’ll update with more Grease Live and other ratings as we get them later in the day.