Two years after NBC stunned the industry with boffo ratings for its live presentation of “The Sound of Music,” the network was back at it Thursday night with “The Wiz Live,” which drew impressive numbers of its own. The event also set a Nielsen Twitter record as most social live special program in the more than four years of tracking such numbers — generating more reactions than NBC’s two prior musicals combined.
Despite facing a highly rated NFL game on CBS, last night’s live musical, whose all-star cast included Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and David Alan Grier, averaged a 3.4 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and about 11.5 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:45 p.m., according to preliminary Nielsen estimates. The only NBC entertainment series to fare better this fall is “The Voice,” whose season premiere averaged a 3.5/11 in 18-49 and 12.37 million.
The 3.4 demo rating is 42% above that earned by last year’s live musical presentation of “Peter Pan” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.21 million viewers overall). It wasn’t quite up to the level of “Sound of Music,” which averaged a 4.6/13 in the demo and 18.32 million viewers.
Review: ‘The Wiz Live!’
For the night, NBC nearly tripled its season 18-49 average on Thursday with regular programming (3.4 vs. 1.2). And it finished ahead of football for the night in key female demos as well as kids 2-11 (3.1/13).
As expected, “The Wiz Live!” fared especially well in markets with large African-American populations. While the overall household average in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets was 7.9, the top scores came in Richmond (16.1), Norfolk (15.0), Baltimore (14.8), Washington, D.C. (13.2) and Atlanta (13.2). Joining D.C. and Atlanta as top-10 markets soaring above the national average were Philadelphia (10.3), New York (10.2) and Chicago (10.0).
According to Nielsen, roughly 269,400 people sent 1.6 million tweets about “The Wiz Live!” on Thursday night and 6.4 million people saw those tweets a total of 128.9 million times. Last night’s production more than tripled the number of tweets for either “Sound of Music” (449,536) or “Peter Pan” (474,735). And according to social media analyst company Canvs, “The Wiz” drew four times as many reactions per minute than “Peter Pan” (792 vs. 178) and more than three times as many as “Sound of Music” (238).
Canvs, which also identifies content containing emotions, said 46.9% of the tweets during “The Wiz” fell into the “love” category — about on par with “Sound of Music” (47.5%) and well above “Peter Pan” (40.6%). Roughly 12.6% of “Wiz” tweets fell in the “dislike/hate” category, about the same as “Peter Pan” (12.4%) and higher than “Sound of Music” (10.6%).
The big ratings and Twitter numbers for “The Wiz Live!” aren’t a surprise based on strong early social-media interest for the project. Shareablee, a social media analytics company, said “The Wiz” had captured more engagement than “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” combined in the lead-up to the show. From Tuesday through Thursday, “The Wiz” posted 19 pieces of content on Facebook, which captured 60,579 actions (of which 65% was positive). In the same three-day window, “Sound of Music” had posted seven pieces of content and captured a total of 28,523 actions, and “Peter Pan” posted three posts on Facebook that garnered a total of 4,505 actions.
And last night during the 8-11 p.m. ET window, global digital marketing technology company Amobee Brand Intelligence said “The Wiz Live!” attracted 1.374 million tweets during its three-hour telecast window — more than four times the number generated last year during the live telecast of “Peter Pan Live” (360,000). Roughly 30% of the sentiment was positive, 58% neutral and 13% negative — meaning the Twitter sentiment was 133% more positive than negative around the broadcast. Shanice Williams, the 19-year-old actress playing Dorothy, scored especially well, with only 2% of the sentiment surrounding her performance considered negative.
CBS and NFL Network combined to win the night overall, with their coverage of the NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions averaging a 12.0 overnight household rating. This should translate into a mid-5 demo rating and more than 17 million total viewers.There wasn’t much else happening on the broadcast front last night, though the CW took advantage of a lack of scripted originals. “The Vampire Diaries” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) and “The Originals” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall) both rose in 18-49 from their prior episodes, with the latter hitting a season high in total viewers.
ABC saw subdued numbers for its holiday specials “Toy Story That Time Forgot” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), “Shrek the Halls” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “CMA Country Christmas” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).