High average ratings and millions of viewers / Trending on Twitter and funny comic skewers / Tying with CBS for the evening’s ratings / These are a few of NBC’s favorite things. NBC’s gamble that a three-hour musical from the 1950s could translate to Must-See TV has paid off. The network’s broadcast of The Sound Of Music Live! drew a huge 4.6 rating among adults 18-49 last night, with 18.5 million viewers in total. The Carrie Underwood-helmed live production of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein creation pulled in the highest non-sports numbers NBC has seen since it aired the ER finale back in 2009.
The Hollywood Reporter points out that the program even managed to sustain most of that target demographic throughout all three hours. After hitting a high of 5.0 at 8:30 p.m. EST, the show dropped to just 4.2 by the end of the night. The special tied with CBS’ juggernaut The Big Bang Theory in the 18-49 demo, and made a lot of noise on social media as well. #TheSoundOfMusicLive! has been trending on Twitter since last night, alternating with #RIPNelsonMandela for the top trending slot.
Despite lukewarm reviews, NBC proved it's capable of creating the kind of must-watch-live TV that is no longer the norm in an era of DVRs and Netflix. And these high numbers will surely have it and other networks looking at other, similar live television events—perhaps more classic Broadway musicals with bankable stars at the helm? Justin Timberlake as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof? Taylor Swift as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady? Or just go ahead and put Neil Patrick Harris in everything and call it a day.