UPDATED, 10 AM: NBC won Easter Sunday primetime with Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, which drew 9.6 million total viewers and a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 in Live + Same Day from 8-10:23 PM in the official fast nationals.
The metered-market stats held up in the fast nationals, with Jesus Christ Superstar topping ABC’s American Idol head to head from 8-10 PM in 18-49 (1.7 vs. 1.6) and total viewers (9.8 million vs. 7.4 million).
The special led NBC to its most-watched Easter Sunday in 12 years with a 7-11 PM average of 7.434 million viewers, best for an NBC Easter since April 16, 2006, which hit 9.8 million. It also topped the comparable partially live Easter-season event on Fox two years ago, The Passion (1.6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers), as well as the most recent live musical on the broadcast networks, Fox’s A Christmas Story Live, (1.5 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers) this past December.
Compared with NBC’s holiday musicals — from the same producers as Jesus Christ Superstar, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan — the Easter special edged the most recent Hairspray Live! (9.1 million in December 2016) and Peter Pan Live! (9.2 million) in total viewers but was below the viewer deliveries of the two highest-rated: The Sound of Music (12.2 million) and The Wiz (11.5 million).
Jesus Christ Superstar was older-skewing than the December musicals, the lowest-rated of which was Hairspray Live! (2.3 L+SD in 18-49).
Idol dipped week-to-week to hit a new viewership low and match a demo low for the ABC revival. New drama Deception (0.8, 4.2 million) was steady with its fast national last week.
Elsewhere, CBS’ Instinct (0.6, 6.7 million) drew less than half of the 1.3 demo rating it scored last week behind the highly rated 60 Minutes, which featured the interview with Stormy Daniels. NCIS: LA (0.8, 7.1 million) dropped three tenths, while Madam Secretary (0.5, 5.7 million) was off by two tenths to tie a demo low.
Fox’s Bob’s Burgers (0.6, 1.5 million) was off by two tenths, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.8, 1.8 million) and Last Man on Earth (0.6, 1.4 million) each dipped a tenth, while The Simpsons (0.9, 2 million) and Family Guy (09, 2.1 million) held steady.
PREVIOUS, 7:15 AM: NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert last night drew a 6.0 rating in the metered market households from 8-10:15 PM. It topped ABC American Idol head-to-head from 8-10 PM (6.1 vs. 4.5) and tied CBS’ 60 Minutes as the top program of the night in households.
Jesus Christ Superstar scored NBC’s top rating in the time period, excluding sports and the Golden Globes, in three years (since Feb. 15, 2015 with the SNL 40 special). It was up +40% versus the comparable partially live Easter-season event on Fox two years ago, The Passion, in metered-market households (6.0 vs. 4.3 from 8-10 PM on Sunday, March 20, 2016).
Jesus Christ Superstar came from the same producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who are behind NBC’s holiday season live musical productions. Of those, Jesus Christ Superstar edged the two lowest rated in households, the most recent Hairspray Live! (Dec. 2016) and Peter Pan Live!, which both averaged a 5.9 household rating in the metered markets, and was below the early delivery of the two highest-rated, The Sound Of Music and The Wiz.
Because of its subject matter, Jesus Christ Superstar is expected to be older-skewing than the December musicals. We will update with demo ratings and viewership stats later this morning.
With NBC taking a break this December, the most recent live production on broadcast TV was Fox’s A Christmas Story Live, which was handily topped by Jesus Christ Superstar in metered-market households (6.0 vs. 2.8 from 7-10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017).