UPDATED with more numbers: The Parks and Recreation special topped Thursday in primetime with a 1.4 rating and 3.67 million viewers, with NBC saying today the telecast collected donations so far totaling $2.8 million.
The zinger-filled special, the first appearance for the Emmy-winning comedy since its seven-season run ended in 2015, featured all the main characters over Zoom. It was constructed over a three-week period from idea to post production, co-creator Mike Schur said, with the cast sent camera tripods and being responsible for their own hair and makeup. The premise of the episode: a present-day Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing.
The episode was created to raise funds for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, with donations to be matched by NBCUniversal, cast and crew, and corporate sponsors at various levels through May 21. (You can still donate here).
The special was preceded by the Paley Center Salutes Parks and Recreation (1.0, 3.38M), and was followed by a repeat showing of the Council of Dads pilot and a new episode (0.3, 2.01M) in the drama’s 10 PM time-slot premiere.
CBS aired the season finale of Young Sheldon (1.1, 9.97M), which was the night’s most-watched program, teaming with new episodes Man With a Plan (0.7, 6.44M), up a tenth, Broke (0.6, 5.05M) and Tommy (0.5, 5.15M), both flat. The network finished No. 1 overall in viewers.
ABC was the top-rated network with the time-slot premiere of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (0.8, 6.22M) and fresh episodes of Station 19 (0.9, 5.54M) and How to Get Away With Murder (0.6, 2.84M). The latter two were back to originals after giving way last week to the opening round of the NFL Draft.
Fox’s season finale of Last Man Standing (0.7, 4.12M) grew a tenth and ticked up in viewers compared with last week.
The CW’s lineup of Katy Keene (0.1, 450,000) and In the Dark (0.1, 390K) were even in the demo.