Dolly Partons Coat of Many Colors
Courtesy of NBC

UPDATED WITH FINALS: NBC’s faith-based original movie “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” opened to hearty numbers on Thursday, skewing older as expected but beating its broadcast competition in key demos while drawing a little more than 13 million total viewers — the biggest crowd for an original movie on television since 2011.

“Coat of Many Colors,” introduced and narrated by Parton and based on her life growing up in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains in the 1950s, averaged a 1.8 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 13.03 million viewers overall from 9 to 11, according to national estimates from Nielsen. This is the network’s largest overall audience in the time period (excluding sports) since its telecast of “The Sound of Music Live” in December 2013.

And excluding all live programming, NBC hasn’t drawn a larger Thursday 9-11 p.m. audience since the series finale of “ER” in April 2009. Among all original movies on the Big Four networks, last night’s audience was the largest since CBS’ “Jesse Stone: Innocence Lost” drew 13.93 million in May 2011.

While last week’s “The Wiz Live!” drew better in key demos — by 89% in 18-49 (3.4 vs. 1.8) and by 48% in 25-54 (4.0 vs. 2.7) — “Coat of Many Colors” drew a larger overall audience by more than 1 million (12.8 million vs. 11.5 million). The movie, starring “Young and the Restless” actress Alyvia Alyn Lind as a 9-year-old Parton, peaked with 13.2 million viewers for its final half-hour.

In adults 18-49, the 1.8 rating for “Coat” ties with a 2012 Hallmark Hall of Fame telepic on ABC, “Christmas for Holly,” as the top-rated original movie in recent years. The last cable original movie to rate higher was Lifetime’s “Flowers in the Attic” nearly two years ago (1.9 in January 2014).

NBC plans to turn other Dolly Parton songs into original movies, though no titles or airdates have been announced. And it has announced that a repeat airing of “Coat of Many Colors” will air Christmas night at 9.

Elsewhere, CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” was the night’s No. 1 program (3.8/14 in 18-49, 15.27 million viewers overall), up a tick over its prior two airings. It was followed by “Life in Pieces” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 8.24 million viewers overall), “Mom” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.87 million viewers overall), “2 Broke Girls” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.70 million viewers overall) and “Elementary” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.00 million viewers overall).

Fox aired original episodes of “Bones” at both 8 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.63 million viewers overall) and 9 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.42 million viewers overall), and CW went with first-run hours of “The Vampire Diaries” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.18 million viewers overall) and “The Originals” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 0.97 million viewers overall).

ABC aired a “Toy Story at 20” anniversary special at 8 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.33 million viewers overall) followed by a repeat of the 1995 movie (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.13 million viewers overall).

And leading into “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” on NBC was the holiday special “Michael Buble’s Christmas in Hollywood” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 7.26 million viewers overall).

NFL Network won the night in young adults with its telecast of the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals (2.9 in 18-49, 8.74 million viewers overall). This was the second highest-rated of the four games to air exclusively on the cabler this fall — close behind the Nov. 6 contest between Cleveland and Cincinnati (3.1 in 18-49, 8.79 million viewers overall).

 

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