Fox’s entry into the musical competition was a smash: Grease: Live, an adaptation of the 1970’s musical and 1978 movie, drew 12.2 million viewers and a 4.3 adult 18-49 rating and 13 share, according to Nielsen numbers. The results far outpass NBC’s recent live musicals The Wiz (11.5 million) and Peter Pan (9.2 million) and also decisively beat both programs in adults 18-49. Grease Live only trailed The Sound Of Music Live in those categories.
In the increasingly important millennial (18-34) demo, Grease Live pulled a 3.7/14.
The ratings for Grease Live drew the highest ratings for Fox since an early-season episode of Empire.
Grease Live was a big hit on social media, receiving kudos from many critics (yours truly didn’t watch – not a big Grease fan.) Of note is Robbins native KeKe Palmer, who drew the most acclaim. Grease Live scored a 74 on Metacritic’s scale (among user, the rating was even higher with an 8.1.) Rotten Tomatoes’ rating was not available.
As far as Chicago is concerned, the presence of Grease Live didn’t dampen the numbers for two marquee sporting events on cable. Despite the broadcast competition, the NHL All-Star Game (which started at 4:30 p.m. local time but did overlap with Grease) drew 118,000 homes (3.3 household rating) while the NFL Pro Bowl drew 105,000 homes.
Local numbers for Grease Live were not available at press time. Overnight household meter market ratings pegged the musical at 7.4.
Nationally, the Pro Bowl drew only a 4.5 household rating and attracted 7.99 million viewers, making it the least watched since 2010 when it moved the week before the Super Bowl. The NHL-All Star game meanwhile, drew a 0.9 rating and 1.6 million viewers – the best number it earned since moving to NBCSN in 2006 (then known as OLN.) In Canada, the game drew 1.97 million viewers, making it the most watched program of the day north of the border – even topping Grease Live.
The NHL event in Nashville had an interesting – and satisfying storyline: former Chicago Blackhawks player John Scott – who basically known as an enforcer – was voted in by the fans (as a joke) to the game. But he had the last laugh – Scott scored a goal and was named MVP.
Despite three events airing and/or overlapping at the same time – all three trended on Twitter Sunday night, it goes to show you the power of linear television in an era of vast choices. Put on the right material, viewers will come. With strong HUT levels, television was the real winner Sunday night.