“The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, attracted 18.47 million viewers and posted NBC's best ratings on a Thursday in the 18-49 demographic since the "ER" finale on April 2, 2009.
In total viewers, it was NBC’s best Thursday average excluding sports since May 13, 2004, when the last episode of “Frasier” aired. NBC released the data gathered by Nielsen. The numbers will likely go up once final data is collected and more DVR viewing is factored in.
Underwood's hometown crowd in Oklahoma tuned in more than any of other 56 markets that Nielsen monitors to generate ratings. Oklahoma City gave the three-hour musical a 20.7 ratings with 28 percent of all televisions in the Oklahoma City area tuned to the new version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
In the demo, "Sound of Music" was watched by 5.88 million viewers, giving the network its first string of five consecutive nights of ratings victories since June 2002, excluding the Olympics. NBC’s last in-season five-night streak was May 1-5, 2002.
"Sound of Music Live" represented was the first time in more than 50 years since a broadcast network has mounted a full-scale musical for live TV. Beyond Underwood, whose acting was widely panned, was surrounded by Broadway veterans Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle.
NBC and the musical's producers staged the original 1959 Broadway musical, befuddling many commentators on Twitter unaware that the Julie Andrews-starring film had moved around and excised songs from the musical.