‘Sound of Music’ Ratings Sing for NBC Thursday Night

Sound of Music Live

NBC’s live revival of “The Sound of Music” averaged 18.5 million viewers Thursday, handily beating competitors in the Big Four throughout its three-hour telecast.

The Carrie Underwood-starrer peaked at the 9 p.m. hour, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, nabbing over 19 million viewers. The special’s biggest turnout was with women 25-54, a demo that notched a 7.0 in household rating during the primetime broadcast.

For its three hours, “Sound of Music” drew a 4.6 rating and 13 share among adults 18-49. In particular, “Sound of Music” gave NBC a rare victory in overall viewers in the brutal 8 p.m. timeslot, normally dominated by CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (4.6/14, 15.3 million). “Big Bang” hadn’t finished second in overall viewers since May 2012, though the Eye’s top sitcom still topped “Sound” in 18-49 for the halfhour.

Excluding sports, NBC scored its best Thursday in overall viewers since the “Frasier” series finale on May 13, 2004 (22.6 million) and its best Thursday 18-49 performance since the “ER” series finale on April 2, 2009 (5.2 rating).

Among viewers 18-49, NBC has also won five primetime nights in a row for the first time (excluding the Olympics) since June 2002.

CBS finished second on the night behind “Big Bang,” “The Millers” (2.5/7, 9.4 million), “The Crazy Ones” (2.1/6, 7.7 million), “Two and a Half Men” (2.3/6, 8.3 million) and “Elementary” (2.8/5, 8.2 million).

However, ABC finished second behind NBC from 9-11 p.m., thanks to “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.4/6, 7.5 million) and “Scandal” (3.1/8, 8.6 million). The Alphabet net continues to labor at 8 p.m. with “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” (1.0/3, 3.6 million).

ABC’s audience improved over its last Thursday of firstrun programming two weeks ago, despite battling “Sound.”

Fox was fourth on the night with “The X Factor” (1.3/4, 4.8 million), which was in third place in the 8 p.m. hour, and “Glee” (1.1/3, 3.2 million). The CW had “The Vampire Diaires” (1.0/3, 2.3 million) and “Reign” (0.6/2, 1.7 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC 4.6/13, CBS 2.5/7, ABC 2.2/6, Fox 1.2/3, Univision 1.0/3, CW 0.8/2.

In total viewers: NBC 18.5 million, CBS 9.5 million, ABC 6.6 million, Fox 4.0 million, Univision 2.8 million, CW 2.0 million.

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  1. John Sturm says:

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. Carrie Underwood is an exceptional young talent with a lot to give. She did an exceptional job bringing humanity to the TV screen. It has been a long time since there has been such an enjoyable night of entertainment on TV. Thank you Carrie

  2. maryann says:

    The ratings speak for themselves. Carrie Underwood did a good job for her first acting job and all you haters are just jealous because you can do it you think you can do better why don’t you try it. Look at some of the biggest actors/actresses in the world and see their early work, which probably wasn’t their best. I for one am proud of Carrie or having the courage to try. The singing was excellent for the whole cast and those children were really good. So all you haters………..to you

  3. Dawn Michelle says:

    So proud of everyone! You all were incredible! My daughter and I loved it!

  4. prompterbob says:

    I know many commenters are in the biz, but sometimes it’s nice just to kickback and just enjoy. No one leaves the theater humming the scenery. The songs from last night are still playing in my head.

  5. does anyone out there know when I could get this MUSICAL on DigitalVideoDisc?1?.

  6. Toni says:

    I find all the negative comments appalling. This was a family centered musical made for TV, not a musical made for Broadway. I thought the entire performance was lovely. I thought Carrie Underwood and the entire cast were delightful. Some scenes were outright spellbinding. This was a special treat. Thank you NBC for taking the risk and putting on this great program for the public! Complainers and critics, please whine elsewhere.

  7. cadavra says:

    It’s silly to think they “needed” Underwood to sell this. The show has been beloved for nearly 55 years, while Underwood is little known outside country music circles. And who knows Moyer apart from the fanboys who watch “True Blood?” (Not your target audience anyway.) Putting them on the same stage with a bunch of Tony winners just made their shortcomings that much more apparent, and Broadway is full of great singer/actors who could have handled the leads better without any noticeable drop in ratings. Still, it was overall a solid production and the ratings will hopefully encourage more such enterprise.

  8. Mark Isenberg says:

    The Walmart ads were hard to sit through as this family was just too perfect for 2013 but the staging was very good,the acting just ok and nobody needs to ask if Julie Andrews is embarassed today.By the way,she will be in Vienna on Jan.1 for the annual PBS Symphony Strauss waltz broadcast which Walter Cronkite initiated as host. The Sound of Music film is forever but NBC did a good effort compared to just airing It’s a Wonderful Life later this month. Will they learn from this and do better work compared to the awful Smash series? Probably not.

  9. prompterbob says:

    NBC’s Sound of Music was a breath of fresh Alpine air. Just what TV needed to clear the stink of Kardashians and other reality TV garbage from our noses. The big ratings prove there’s a hunger for entertaining family fare. Let’s see more broadcasters follow in NBC’s footsteps, take risks and create more TV events like this. Carrie Underwood was a cute as a button and sang her little heart out. It’s so easy to make snarky comments.

  10. Matt says:

    Underwood’s singing was non dynamic. She has one level: full voice. She knew her lines but was she Maria? No, she was Carrie Underwood, under-rehearsed and under directed. The entire production was stiff and revealed at once the producers had tried to take on an epic piece without giving the director and the performers enough time to clean up the pacing.

    The production also suffered from so many miscastings that the only actors who really seemed to fit their roles were the baroness, Leisel and Max. The children seemed like they were mimicking lines. The Reverend Mother was far too young.

    Technically the sound was a disaster with the orchestra (canned or live we don’t know), overpowering the the singers. Many times I wondered why, with all it’s resources, NBC would have used such cheap looking sets and poor lighting. This is The Sound of Music, one of the top grossing theater/film productions of all time. The shoes to fill we’re giant. Couldn’t NBC have risen to the challenge? I felt like I was watching a community theater’s dress rehearsal.

    • Frank W says:

      I agree with some of what you say, but cheap sets? Cheap was back in the old live days. This looked like a solidly built house, not a hint of flimsy. The outdoor set was just lain old-fashioned with the tree having a prescored heart already cut into it.

      I noticed the loud music in the first part, but that seemed to lessen later. I thought it was overall a “Good College Try” but Underwood is a star and that’s what they need to attract attention.

      • Frank W says:

        OK< Cheap sets to you mean a totally different thing to me, and believe me, I've had to deal with cheap sets and wobbling walls on low budget 3 camera TV.

        Those sets were all solidly built. I saw only one fault with the trees, that the one with the initials and heart were prescored for the actor to dig out again. Unforunately the lighter color of the wood putty was picked up by the lights. As for splotches of paint, I've seen trees with a fungus or mold that mimics pant splotches (unless you are referring to the wood of the interior of the house, I didn't see anything).

        I only saw one dress, worn by a featured guest, that did blend a bit with the walls, but her position was in the door way. Her presence was only to be acknowledged, not to draw attention. If everything was beige to you, it's your TV. I saw warm tones that looked fine, albeit sometimes too dark and full of cookies, but one had to watch for light spill and revealing camera shadows.

        Yeah, the sound sucked. I didn't think it could be worse until I think the wedding, where the Orch blasted everyone out.

        There were mistakes, but only one camera focus problem I saw and no cameras crashed into each other. There were more good things that happened right than bad.

        And finally, my college did "Anything Goes" on a single shipboard deck set and it was 100 times better than the '87 touring from Broadway version with Mitzi Gaynor

      • Dave Raines says:

        Sorry, but, yes, cheap sets. I could see the splotches of pain trying to mimic wood. Everything was a shade of beige, including sets, costumes and actors. I could hear what I could only guess was the stage air conditioning sound underneath. A grade B Off Broadway production from 1955, not a $9 million HDTV production from 2013.

  11. Waystation 49 says:

    Love Carrie and actress who played Mother Superior – the production, I think, feel and reacted “wincing”! It was on par with a bad high school musical – wow. I kept changing channels and going back to see if it got better. I had such high hopes for it.
    Lighting was “off”
    Sound was poor in places, poorly mic’d / balanced. In places voice over singing was not properly edited to lip sinq well

    Costuming- why would the CD put the ladies in dresses matching the woodwork? If she was making a statement maybe but it really looked awful. Quality of fabrics had the dresses and kids uniforms look “dumpy” – not from wealth.

    Acting was as bad as some operas I’ve seen.
    Scenery – too stagey.

    Mother Superior role casting – came off as “equal opportunity employment”.
    I really like this actress and she did what she could with a poor show. But for historical accuracy sake only – and I have to look this up as I don’t know – would there have been a black Mother Superior in Austria at that time? Today – yes – but then? I sort of felt it came off about like if they had had a different race kid playing one of the Von Trap kids.

    • Frank W says:

      Who else from Broadway has the vocal power other than Audra McDonald? Maybe because she is black, talking about growing up there, that the Nazi armbands were replaced with generic.

      • Frank W says:

        Why are you replying to me 4ge? I had no problem with her being black, it seemed to be the original poster who may have had a problem and only from a history standpoint (it is 1937-38 or so). I saw Audra McDonald’s name in the opening credits and was thrilled. I also made the comment about the armbands based on the first scene with them where I didn’t see any Nazi symbol and many people here who criticized the historical inaccuracies–I hadn’t watched to the end yet–so I though maybe this was a more fictionalized alternate world and not a pure historical one.

      • 4ge says:

        Who cares that she was black? A lot of the costumes of the production weren’t historically accurate either, but there isn’t a lot of complaining about that. Contrary to how americans like to fantasize about a completely snow white historical europe, black people have had a presence in those countries for many centuries.

        That and, Audra (who, btw, was born in Germany) was the shining star of this production. The Cinderella in 1997 (which ironically is another musical attributed to Julie Andrews) was a huge success and there was no regard to race in that production at all. Really, I would rather have a rainbow cast that is talented and interesting to watch than a white cast that is mediocre.

  12. henry says:

    Your comments are very sarcastic and actually display the same feelings you equate with Underwood, no emotion. I disagree with you on all counts. I think the production was great entertainment for families. Underwood was fantastic, yes fantastic.

    • Frank W says:

      I think CW was stiff in her acting (except during the cuckoo song with the kids), and her voice was not what we have become accustomed to but I think she sang well. I hope NBC takes on another live show. But everyone who compares to the movie needs to be reminded that this is based on the original play with Mary Martin.

  13. Lydia says:

    we all watched it…….but it was painful (the overall cast was fine – Carrie Underwood was waaaaaaay out of her league. next time, they need to cast an ACTOR who can sing

  14. Millard Ochs says:

    Great TV event would have been better with fewer commercial interruptions. Seemed like the commercial time was longer after the show was on air 90 min. Broke the mood of the story.
    Great performances of Carrie Underwood a nd the actor who played the Mother superior.
    Should be an annual event without all the commercials.

    • 4ge says:

      Of course they would. The Sound of Music is one of the most beloved musicals of all time, plus it’s almost Christmas, which means more people are “in the mood” for that kind of family-friendly entertainment. There are also many big-name, beautiful, and well-liked female public figures who have both the acting and singing chops to carry their own weight in such a role.

    • Frank W says:

      You need the commercials to pay for it.

      You need the long breaks for the actors and re staging the cameras. They are the “Curtain”.

    • Chason says:

      You need a DVR. We didn’t watch a single commercial and started only 45 minutes after it started live.

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