“The Wiz Live” scores with critics, fans

2015-1026-NBCU-The-Wiz-About-Image-1920x1080-UG Dusting off an old New York area- electronic store slogan from the 1990’s, Nobody Beats The Wiz – at least when it comes to entertainment programming.

And that was more than true Thursday night when as the NBC live presentation of the Broadway Musical drew strong ratings – even opposite a special edition of Thursday Night Football.

In metered overnight ratings, The Wiz Live! drew an 7.9/13, basically only two-tenths behind the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game on CBS and NFL Network (8.1/13). In the LPM markets (the largest 25), Wiz drew a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49.

In Fast nationals, Wiz drew a 3.3, behind the football game, but ahead of all other entertainment options. Keep in mind Wiz signed signed off at 9:45 p.m. local time, handing the time back to local affiliates for local news early.

In all, The Wiz Live! drew a final rating of 6.5 household rating; an 3.4 rating in adults 18-49; a 4.0 ratings in adults 25-54; and 11.5 million viewers. The football game drew an 11 household rating; a 5.3 in adults 18-49; a 6.4 in adults 25-54; and 17.8 million viewers. The Wiz improved on last year’s live musical on NBC (Peter Pan) by 42 percent in the 18-49 demo, but was down 26 percent from 2013’s The Sound Of Music.

The Wiz Live! became television’s all-time leader (non-sports) when it comes to social media activity, according to Nielsen. Wiz tripled its predecessors when it came to the other two live NBC specials. 1.6 million tweets were sent during the show.

Chicago ratings weren’t available. Locally, The Wiz Live also faced competition from a Blackhawks game on CSN Chicago, who played against the Ottawa Senators in Canada’s capital city (they lost in OT, 4-3.)

Equally as heartbreaking (for Lions fans, at least), Aaron Rodgers threw a game-winning Hail Mary pass at the end of the game to clinch the win for the Packers.

As for The Wiz Live!, the musical presentation received a lot of rave reviews on Twitter and from critics; some say it easily topped Pan and even Music. From yours truly’s perspective, The Wiz was fantastic – Shanice Williams was excellent in her portrayal of Dorothy; the musical numbers were fun; and the performances were top rate – especially those of Common, Mary J. Blige (who played the wicked Witch), David Alan Grier (the lion), and Queen Latifah (the Wiz.) The writing was terrific, and even an improvement over the so-so 1978 movie.

As a result, yours truly gave The Wiz Live! an A+ – the best program on TV this year, even more so than Empire. A great job all around.

Data for this report was gathered from TV Media Insights.