Ratings: NBC's Sound of Music Live! Does Something Very Good; Glee and Grey's at Lows

Ratings Sound of Music LiveHow do you solve a problem like a boorish, overly snarky Twitter feed? By hushing the haters with huge numbers.

Facing off against 100-percent original broadcast competition throughout its entire three-hour run, NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! on Thursday night put 18.6 million total bums in the seats (as they say on Broadway), while scoring a 4.6 demo rating (per finals).

That marks NBC’s largest non-sports Thursday audience since May 2004 (when Frasier’s finale night averaged 22.6 mil) and its best non-sports Thursday demo number since the April 2009 ER finale (5.2).

Save for its opening face-off against the always formidable Big Bang Theory — which won the night with an adjusted-up 4.8 rating — SOML at least doubled the numbers of 9 of the night’s 11 other broadcast programs.

TVLine readers meanwhile gave the production an average grade of “B-.”

RELATED | Reader Poll: Was Sound of Music Live! Music to Your Ears?

NBC notes that, unsurprisingly, the top local market among the metered market households came from Oklahoma City, in female lead Carrie Underwood’s home state.

In other words, the countdown until NBC greenlights Taylor Swift’s Evita Live! starts now.

Elsewhere….

CBS | Big Bang (15.6 mil/4.8) dipped 9 percent in the demo; The Millers (9.4 mil/2.4) dropped 14 percent, Crazy Ones (7.7 mil/2.1) slipped one tenth and Two and a Half Men (8.3 mil/2.3) ticked up two tenths. Elementary (8.2 mil/1.8) dipped 9 percent in audience but was steady in the demo.

ABC | Wonderland (3.6 mil/0.9) was flat, Grey’s Anatomy (7.5 mil/2.3) was down 13 percent and three tenths (to a new series low) and Scandal (8.6 mil/3.0) rose a tenth.

THE CW | Vampire Diaries (2.26 mil/1.0) fell 16 and 23 percent, while Reign (1.65 mil/0.6) was down 8 and 14 percent.

FOX | The X Factor (4.8 mil/1.4) was down a tenth from its last non-holiday outing, while Glee‘s fall finale (3.2 mil/1.1) fell 22 percent to new series lows.

Want scoop on any of the above shows? (Spoiler alert: Germany lost.) Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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108 Comments
  1. Kevin says:

    Woah! That’s great I hope this means we will see more live musicals on network tv!

    • tara17 says:

      I’d love to see more musicals on TV, like Book of Mormon. With NPH!

      • Ann says:

        I doubt we’ll ever see Book if Mormon on anything but PBS…I think NBC well opt for more family friendly shows. Something like Annie will probably be their next choice.

        • Stormy says:

          Although Hugh Jackman’s Oklahoma just aired,on PBS I’d like to see them do it with Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood [both Okies]. I’d also go for a new Into the Woods [I know they're doing it on film now, but Meryl Streep can't sing]. Or Fox could do an all Idol alumni version of Grease. Carrie as Sandi, Adam as Zucco, JHud as Rizzo, etc. I know … dream on, but just casting that might become the subject of one of our family gatherings during this holiday season.

        • Oliver Queen says:

          Next year will be “Legally Blond, the Musical” with Taylor Swift. It’s already been in opening discussion over the past month.

        • nicademus11 says:

          Ann – I love Annie, but I so deeply and sincerely hope you are wrong. Annie has been remade twice, we don’t need another one. I’d love to see them do Meet Me in St. Louis or another holiday classic.

          • Ben says:

            A live stage show isn’t a remake of a movie.

          • S. says:

            Ben, she’s not talking about remaking the 1982 movie which it obviously wouldn’t be doing. They did a version of the stage show as a tv movie with Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan. It wasn’t live but it was supposedly closer to the stage show. I think they should do The Secret Garden. Imagine the production values and the songs are incredible. You’ll bawl like a baby. If nothing else, revive that show on Broadway. It’s been 20 years.

    • TV Gord says:

      I agree completely! The show may have had its problems (Carrie’s acting, primarily), but it was a triumph, in my opinion. I’m very glad I watched!

      • gdv says:

        Carrie’s acting was SO BAD. I really hope if they do another musical next year they get someone with actual stage acting chops. My husband and I were cringing every time she delivered a line. (And I’m pretty sure near the end she was reading her lines from a monitor! She kept looking off in a weird direction every few seconds.) Having said that, her singing was pretty good. But something like this requires acting AND singing talent.

        • Linda says:

          I want to see Lea Michele! That girl started on Broadway at 8 years old and she has both the theatrical stage presence and TV awareness to pull off a live TV Musical. Not to mention her voice is one of the best in the industry and she can act!

        • connie says:

          I can’t believe what you are saying. This was live and her first time to act. I think that she deserves far better than that.

          • just saying says:

            The point is your first time trying to act should not be on national tv in the lead of a beloved musical. I know some idiots don’t get it, but acting is a skill like any other. Actors TRAIN to do this. It is NOT something you just get up and do on a whim. We take classes, we practice.. and then ppl like you belittle our efforts by supporting ppl who have not put in the work.

          • connie says:

            I don’t agree with you but, to each his own. I also know that we live in a world where people will criticize and gripe about something, no matter what it is.

        • connie says:

          She deserves far better than this. She did an awesome job considering it was her first time and it was live. Also, knowing that people would pick the flesh off from her bones because she wasn’t as good as someone else.

    • Kim R says:

      I would love this as well. What a treat to watch a live stage performance! The only negative aspect for me was the lack of acting skills for Carrie. It really did stand out against the others. As a whole it was enjoyable and the singing was wonderful to listen to. The kids were great! Audra brought me to tears. :)

  2. hana says:

    Can we please have some live theater with TALENTED people, though?

    • tara17 says:

      The whole cast of the LIVE broadcast did a fantastic job (Audra McDonald!). Carrie Underwood isn’t a great actress but she sang wonderfully and brought numbers.

      • TV Gord says:

        Exactly! The producers needed to give Carrie a crash course in beefing up her acting skills, but what she lacked in that department, she made up for with her singing!

      • hana says:

        Well it annoys me that there are great actors who can sing who are expected to give way to marginally talented singers who CAN’T ACT…

        • Paul G. says:

          Well, they wouldn’t have made 18,5 million people watch.

          • gdv says:

            I’m sure Carrie’s appeal helped pull in some of her fans, but honestly, I watched just to watch the show—definitely not for Carrie. I don’t think I’m in the minority either.

        • Alice says:

          You can get away with not having a trained singer for some roles- but Maria is a part that is really heavy on the belting- which, if done wrong, is really bad for the singer. You can’t just take an “actor who can sing” and train them up in a few months to due the marathon that is Maria in The Sound of Music. And if you tried to force it- you could permanently damage their voice. They needed someone who could already belt for 90 minutes, who already had the lungs and the technique for it. Which was why country music is probably a good place to look. Otherwise you could have put in a normal sopran,o like Anne Hathaway or an alto, like Mandy Moore, in the part no problem.

    • Susanne says:

      I sure hope so because I thought Stephen Moyer was awful.

  3. Joel says:

    Wicked Live!

  4. Dee says:

    Yes, The Sound of Music Live wasn’t perfect and NBC has a lot they need to improve on. But I do hope this will start a yearly tradition. There are so many musicals out there that I’d love it see adapted to live TV.

    I think NBC could strike with The Wizard of Oz.

  5. Emily says:

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live! ;)

  6. Kevin says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing “Hello, Dolly!” Or even another production of R&H’s “Cinderella”

  7. leigh says:

    Annie would be a good one to do live

  8. Jan says:

    Even though it was a little corny in some spots I really enjoyed it. I even got a little ready eyed. Carrie and Stephen were wonderful and so were Audra and the lids. I love good clean wholesome tv once in a while and this is coming from a Walking Dead, American Horror Story fan. Hope they do it again with another production.

  9. Colleen says:

    Avenue Q starring the Muppets!

  10. Matt says:

    It was HORRENDOUS. Folks need to raise their standards. The lighting was terrible and the sound had this weird hum the entire time.

    • Drew says:

      We’re not used to live productions like this on TV anymore, but go back and watch some old recordings sometime. This productions was leaps and bounds above what they used to do.

    • Cal says:

      It’s NBC. The same hum can be heard whenever there’s a brief gap between live and filmed skits on SNL.

  11. Esaul says:

    Wonder if Hulu will get rights to put it on there. I sadly missed it last night, my girlfriend is dead set against watching it…so I didn’t dare try putting it on with her natural love to Julie Andrews. I tried! :(

  12. Doug says:

    Hah not at all surprised there were huge ratings here in Oklahoma. Not only is there great support for Carrie, but we know a little something about Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals too.

    Oh, and there was a winter storm pounding most of the state with snow, sleet, and ice all day, so everyone was definitely indoors and off the ice. It was literally the perfect storm.

    I was keeping an eye on the twitter feed during the performance, it was pretty exasperating how ridiculous some people were. We’re clearly spoiled by canned TV when people don’t even remember what live performances are like anymore. Get out of your basements, wash off the smell, and go to a theater some time. (and not the kind that show movies)

    For a first run, 3 hour live performance they were fantastic.

  13. I watched this last night and I am in complete awe of Carrie because she would take the chance to play Maria knowing that there would be criticism. I enjoyed the music and the children. I am not sure if I liked the captain but, that’s just my opinion. It was live so, if there were any mistakes, they couldn’t stop and do it again. I want to see it again.

    • Drew says:

      I felt so bad for that Nazi Admiral guy! (the actor, not the character obviously)

      And it seemed like the guy from Smash mixed up his lines toward the end, but he recovered well. That’s the thing with these live shows. We’re rooting for the production, usually… for most people. Though you wouldn’t know it by watching Twitter last night. So even when they mess up, we support them. It’s nice to have a positive spirit about something for once. We usually just want to tear things down these days.

  14. Drew says:

    It was a great production. People are ripping on Underwood, but I loved her in the role. Keeping in mind that this was stage acting and not normal screen acting, I think she did well. She got the emotions of the scenes down even more than a lot of the seasoned professional actors. I think that her main issue was that she was sticking to the script word for word, whereas most actors will turn “Who is” into “Who’s” but this is a common trait, especially on stage. She lost her accent, which is hard in and of itself.

    Plus, anyone who says that hacks like Beyonce or Lady Googoo need to lip sync because they dance need to watch Carrie’s performance here. Yeah, she was out of breath, but she didn’t miss a note. It was brilliant.

    I saw a lot of comparing to “the original” last night, which was the big issue with the audience. They thought that Julie Andrews and the movie were “original” and they couldn’t let go of the movie. They criticized this production for moving songs, but this is where the songs were supposed to be. The pupped scene really wouldn’t play well on stage, so the Lonely Goatherd song makes more sense in the bedroom. And when you compare Underwood to Mary Martin, it’s much more similar. Julie Andrews has a higher, almost operatic voice. We’re used to it, but it shouldn’t be written in stone for this character.

    I would love to see this become a yearly tradition. But they should pick plays that maybe aren’t as tied to our childhood memories, so people can enjoy the show without thinking of the movie. Maybe “White Christmas” or “Peter Pan” would be good for next year.

    • gdv says:

      Were we watching the same thing? Underwood was TERRIBLE. Her singing was quite good, but her acting was really bad. And her twang was killing me. In stage acting, you have to emote even more, but she was really robotic and stiff the whole production. Again, her singing was good, but any acting skills were totally missing.

      • Drew says:

        That’s why this was difficult. This is stage acting, but then again, it isn’t. If she went full stage, she would have looked ridiculous. But then they really didn’t seem to direct people toward camera acting either, which they really could have in a lot of spots. They could have spoken more quietly and used more restrained movements, but they didn’t seem to direct toward that. The actors who seemed to do the best were the ones who have worked in both areas and knew the tricks of both. But even they didn’t always do spectacular jobs. Whats-his-name from Smash was entertaining, but a little too “stage” and not quite enough “screen”. Audra McDonald actually seemed to be playing for screen most of the time, with smaller movements and facial expressions and that worked really well.

        I don’t think Underwood was terrible, because she managed to grab me emotionally a few times and that’s not easy, whether it is stage or screen. Her line delivery could have been more natural, but I didn’t mind the overall performance.

      • dmc says:

        No, YOU weren’t watching the same thing!

    • Kim R says:

      Regardless if it is “stage” acting or “screen” acting, it is still acting. It seems to be the general consensus that while her singing was lovely, her acting skills left a lot to be desired. That stood out last night and the one negative thing to me. :)

  15. TC says:

    Doug-I find your comment a tad offensive. You are assuming that people didn’t like last night’s performance because they are naive or “sheltered” from theatre or culture, or are simply too shallow to apprecaaite it. I live 45 minutes from mid town Manhattan. I have access to pretty much any show, at any time and often take advanatage of it. Bottom line is the show had it’s flaws-many of them-starting with the acting ablity or lacktherof of the show’s star. It doesn’t take a broadway director to see that. Your assessment of the show being “fantastic” is quite generous and perhaps biased given your ties to Oklahoma which happens to be the home state of Underwood.

    • Drew says:

      Did you see the twitter feed last night? The complaints were mostly people comparing this production to the movie version. The songs were out of order or the acting wasn’t like the movie or whatever. I don’t think that Doug was trying to be offensive or criticize people who don’t like the production for what it was, but the feedback was mostly from people who were criticizing what it *wasn’t* and that became frustrating.

      As for Underwood’s acting ability… the von Trapps have said that they wanted Anne Hathaway in the role. Obviously they see some talent in that woman that I don’t see because I cannot stand Anne Hathaway at all. So the point is that what works for one person might not work for someone else. I personally enjoyed Carrie’s performance.

  16. Doug H says:

    One of the things these live shows in a studio suffer from is a lack of audience. Broadway shows are designed for an audience and many of the flaws you might see in a televised shows are ignored because you are not on a closeup.. The cameras show it all. Obviously, Carrie suffers in the acting department somewhat compared to the experienced Broadway stars also in the show but her singing was just great.. Seeing SOM on a stage is so confining compared to the movie but expectations have to measured.. You can’t replace the real Salzburg and Alps!!.. You also notice all the changes made for the movie that made a long movie move along. Don’t forget, when they show the movie on TV, it lasts 4 hours due to commercial breaks and other stuff… Not sure how some other shows would do on TV this way.. So much of Broadway shows have the jokes which don’t work well without an audience.

  17. Jess says:

    Sucks for glee. It was actually pretty funny for the first time in ages.

    • gleemark says:

      Agree! It was a very good episode… but I think the rating shows how bad were the two or three episodes aired before!

    • KC says:

      I agree, last night’s Glee was fabulous!

      • LL says:

        I don’t agree! Everything but the NY parts were terrible! Glee can’t blame Sound of Music for it’s terrible ratings, they keep dropping with each episode and this isn’t too far off the mark from the last 3 episodes. It’s too late IMO for Glee to rebound. They decided to focus on the New Kids and Blam and all that did was drive the long time viewers away. I think they are going to be stuck with the 1.0 -1.4 range for the duration of their run. They really messed up focusing on the new kids and Blam.

    • Drew says:

      Hehe… I thought you were going to say that this sucks for Glee because it shows us that you can put on a quality musical without auto-tune and with a solid story, with far less resources than Glee has.

      • Glee says:

        What sucks is Glee has the ability to do a quality musical but instead of using the best talent they have they have shoe horned them in NY with limited songs and screen time in favor of the mediocre talent of Darren Criss Chord Overstreet the terrible Newbies. They have LEA FREAKING MICHELE and they make her sing the Chipmonk song?

        • Drew says:

          I had to stop watching Glee long before the newbies arrived. They do have some talented actors on the show, but the writers just suck beyond all comparison. The best thing for the actors would be if they just left the show. You’re right… Lea Michelle could do better.

  18. wrstlgirl says:

    I thought last night’s Vampire Diaries was awesome. Mainly because it wasn’t all about poor, poor Elena. At least until they end. Now we’ll have a fall finale’ of operation “Save Elena” again……blah.

  19. Et al says:

    I vote for Hedwig Live! Starring Scotty McCreery!

    Was that really a series low for Glee? I thought it had gone under 1.0 in the past.

  20. Matt says:

    I must say that I am not very familiar with the stage version and like most people am more familiar with the movie, but with that being said, I still enjoyed the show! I must admit there were some parts where it was hard to watch Carrie deliver her lines, and we all know that she can obviously sing, but for the most part I did not have many qualms about the show overall.

  21. lmjo says:

    Honestly, good for NBC! They tried something that, nowadays, is outside of the box, and it worked. Hopefully they’ll try again next year with an even more talented cast.

    • Stormy says:

      Please let them do Spamalot or A Funny Thing happened On The Way To The Forum. And put Sean hayes in one of them. PLEASE!

  22. shar says:

    Carrie is beautful and has an amazing voice. It is refreshing to see someone like her on TV not cussing and having sex every 5 minutes.

  23. J.Norman says:

    Great showing for Sound of Music.

    With that said, I would advise the puffed up fans about being overzealous about doing this type of thing more often.

    I think last night might be considered a bit of a unique fluke in the since it brought together a beloved vehicle (The Sound Of Music) and a very popular star (Carrie Underwood).
    It really was a perfect storm combination.

    But to think it can routinely be repeated? I wouldn’t bet on it. The novelty will end.

    In fact, the show itself last night was not particularly good. At least the portions of it I watched while occasionally switching over to watch between commercials.

    PBS does this type of thing much better, more often, and hardly anyone watches.

    I don’t believe it will repeat well at all, word of mouth will not be good.

  24. Mikaela says:

    To all the haters out there ripping on Carrie Underwood an the whole production of The Sound of Music: I’d like to see you get up there and belt out iconic songs and lines on live TV. Yes Carrie’s not a classically trained actress. Yes it’s hard to see past the magic that is Julie Andrews. No that doesn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the production because of it. No that doesn’t mean that I feel the need to go online and scream foul because of it. No it doesn’t mean that I have the right to blast a talented singer for taking a step outside her comfort zone and do something that hasn’t been done in many years.

  25. DenverDean says:

    Wasn’t ABC preempted in Houston for the Texans game? If so, there will be adjustments to ABC’s line-up.

  26. mandy says:

    I guess I went in with low expectations for Carrie’s acting ability since she is a rookie, so I wasn’t as bothered by that. And her singing was flawless. It had to be exhausting. ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ can’t be any easy song to sing, and I did love her rendition of ‘Something Good’. TBH, Carrie earned my respect by just attempting this production. (I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need the money.)
    I have rarely left a live musical production disappointed; there’s always something to appreciate. If the songs are good, the acting is secondary to me.I understand why she was cast, and apparently it paid off. If this catches on, then theater in general should benefit from the exposure.

    So, Congrats! to Carrie and co., and kudos to NBC for producing something enjoyable live besides sports. If you build it, they will come.

  27. nate says:

    damnit reign

  28. TV Gord says:

    Matt, do you know whether Sound of Music held onto its audience throughout the three hours?

  29. Douglas from Brazil says:

    Isn’t time to ABC let Grey’s go?
    2.4 is too low for a show which pulled 7.7 in the past even airing its 10th season.

    • You mean they should cancel their second highest drama on the network. The show that still reaches excellent ratings in A18-34: 2.0, W18-34: 3.0. And that kind of ratings means big bucks from advertisers for ABC. It doesn’t matter what kind of ratings it had in the past. It matters what kind of ratings the show has if you compare it to other dramas on ABC.

      • Douglas from Brazil says:

        You prefer that GA hits low each week?Going from 7.7 to 2.4 is a big deal for me.However I don’t see next season being good in ratings with Oh’s absence.

  30. That’s wonderful news. I liked the production a lot and the music was amazing. Hopefully this will be the start of something new and we’ll have a huge production like it every year.

  31. Tf jr says:

    I stayed to the end and thought it was a great show

  32. greysfan says:

    That is just an incredible number for Sound of Music. I loved the whole thing from start to finish. Yes Carrie was a bit wooden with her acting but her vocals were superb. I loved her in this from start to finish so it didn’t bother me. I guess now though we are probably going to see the other networks do more of this and yet again over-saturate the market. Well done NBC.

    • Drew says:

      Only ABC will do it with their version of the stories, which I grew up with but have gotten really sick of with all of the lame sequels and this whole “Disney Princess” crap. Ick.

  33. Shyaporn says:

    That “boorish, overly snarky Twitter feed” you complain about is the only reason the broadcast got as much attention as it did, not the quality of the production. People were tuning in because #TheSoundOfMusicLive was the top trending topic the entire night, up until the following morning. Hence the increasing viewership numbers throughout the evening.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Huh. And here I thought it grew once BIG BANG ended, per the half hours:
      17.6 mil > 19.7 mil > 19.3 mil > 19.3 mil > 18.0 mil > 17.0 mil

  34. Holly says:

    “How do you solve a problem like a boorish, overly snarky Twitter feed? By hushing the haters with huge numbers.” Indeed! I enjoyed the Sound of Music Live. To me it’s all about the music. I wasn’t focused on anyone’s acting to be quite honest. I thought the performers did a great job. I was surprised that I still remembered the words to most of the songs since I haven’t seen the movie since I was in elementary or junior high school. I never realized the movie had such rabid fans in this day and age with all the criticism I’ve read about the live show. *snark*

  35. Tom says:

    Jesus Christ Superstar crossover with the Voice Judges. X-Tina as Mary, Adam as Jesus, Cee-lo as Judas and Blake as Pilate??? Or even have Adam play Judas and Cee-lo as Harrod?

  36. barbara says:

    thought it was great!!!!!! the singing was amazing. i would luv to see more musicals on tv as i highly doubt I’ll ever get to broadway. alot negativity on carrie for first time acting the show being live i think she did good she deserves alot of credit.good job nbc for bringing us this entertainment

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