Hairspray Live Ratings NBC

Ratings: NBC's Hairspray Live! Can't Beat The Wiz, On Par With Peter Pan

Hairspray Live! performed solidly in the ratings for NBC, but fell shy of most every recent TV musical that preceded it.

Wednesday night’s live production delivered 9.05 million total viewers and a 2.3 demo rating (per finals), down 21 and 32 percent from what The Wiz Live scored for the Peacock a year ago.

Hairspray thus also fell well shy of the total audience for Fox’s Grease Live (12.2. million and of course the one that started it all, December 2013’s Sound of Music Live (18.6 million), but was on par with December 2014’s Peter Pan Live, which drew 9.2 million viewers with a 2.4 demo rating.

NBC notes that the live staging improved on its current in-season Wednesday average by 47 percent in audience and 77 percent in the demo.

Elsewhere on Wednesday:

THE CW | Arrow (1.94 mil/0.7) dropped 47 percent from its crossover night/Episode 100, while Frequency (850K/0.2) ticked down to series lows.

CBS | Survivor (8.5 mil/1.7) slipped two tenths, Criminal Minds (7.8 mil/1.3) ticked down in the demo to tie its series low (yet bested Empire for the first time in viewers). Code Black (6.75 mil/1.1) delivered its largest audience of the season while up a tenth in the demo.

ABC | Goldbergs (5.4 mil/1.5) and Speechless (4.6 mil/1.3) each slipped two tenths, while black-ish (4.2 mil/1.2) dropped sharply leading out of a Modern Family rerun. Designated Survivor (5.2 mil/1.1) slipped to series lows.

FOX | Lethal Weapon (6.3 mil/1.4) slipped two tenths to a series low. Empire (7 mil/2.5) slipped 10 and 14 percent to new series lows.

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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20 Comments
  1. Steven says:

    It’s promoted as something to watch with the family but it runs till 11pm. I know ratings are typically lower on Fridays, but I feel like this could do better on a night where kids can stay up later.

    • Mary says:

      This, I DVR the show but only watched a couple of hours. I get up early for work and there was no way I could watch the whole thing. Now if you factor in kids a Wednesday night is not the time to do a three hour show. I thought it was 100 percent better than Peter Pan and actually enjoyed more than the Wiz.

    • Juke says:

      The content is kind of racy for the kids. (“The flasher next door” is in the opening song.) I was surprised they were pushing it as family entertainment.

  2. Jennifer says:

    HOW?!?!? This was SO much better than The Wiz or Peter Pan. Maybe because people have lost faith after the last 2?

    • michael says:

      Totally disagree. This was no where near what the wiz was. The wiz was entertaining from start to end. Hairspray was entertaining in parts from the middle to the end and had there not been a jennifer hudson involved this would have been a total fail imo.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I agree with Jennifer. Hairspray borrowed some elements from Grease, particularly the live audience, that gave the broadcast more of the energy of the stage show than the other NBC musicals had. IMO Hairspray is NBC’s best musical to date (but still comes in second to Fox’s Grease).

  3. Murphy says:

    Lol. Those are not “solid” ratings for a big budget show like this. It was a flop.

  4. GuessWhat says:

    Unlike those other offerings, we’ve had more recent movie versions of this tale (1988 and 2007). I certainly didn’t need to see another. Skipped it.

  5. ndixit says:

    Bad night for everything it seems.

  6. michael says:

    It was a good production overall. The first 30 minutes were very lackluster with mediocre acting. But, by the end there were some real great moments. It was definitely no Wiz (which was incredible production wise and emotional performing wise). I found this a bit of step back comparatively. I’m interested in bye bye birdie for next year.

  7. Et al. says:

    I loved it but it’s a good point that a very good movie version (which was very true to the original show which is rare) came out fairly recently. I’ll be curious to see the demo numbers since this show is much more “modern” than the others an older crowd may not have tuned in just lowering the (essentially meaningless) total number of viewers.

  8. kmw says:

    Hairspray didn’t do as well as NBC hoped but still did alright. Wow the drop on FOX was bigger than I thought. CM beating Empire in viewers? I never thought I would see that. Poor DS didn’t do well either but it was a good episode. And how to explain Code Black rising when nothing else did? I cannot.

  9. christopher bee says:

    I´ve personaly loveloved that production, in my book an A++.

    But i can see, that the content might be too controversal for all of the Trumpland People.
    I´ve watched all the Livemusicals since the sound of music and this one is in my opinion a worthy contender for the crown.

    Next One?

    Let´s do “Rent”.

  10. iHeart says:

    well this is a bummer, it seemed that everyone gave it their all here and not alot of people watched it, I kind of wished I did (I kept track on twitter) and tuned in at the end

  11. Jenny says:

    Not that it would make a huge difference, but the other nbc musicals aired on Thursdays and grease aired on a Sunday. Maybe that was a factor in lower ratings?

  12. Nicole says:

    We tend to watch lethal weapon Thursday mornings. I also recorded hairspray because I was not going to watch a full three hours.

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