The results are in . . .
NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! was beamed across the country live on Thursday night. The ratings have finally been counted and . . . *Drum Roll* . . .
18.47 MILLION VIEWERS
A revival of The Sound of Music played on Broadway in 1998 at the Al Hirshfield Theatre. By my calculations, in order for that production to reach the same number of people it would need to play for over 31 years to 100% capacity. (It only played for a bit over a year).
That’s right. Even the legendary The Phantom of the Opera hasn’t played to that many people in its current home on Broadway.
But the amazing numbers don’t end there. The last time NBC saw these Thursday viewing figures for a non-sports even was in 2004 with the series finale of ‘Frasier’. And considering all American networks, it was the biggest Thursday night non-sport audience since Fox’s ‘American Idol’ finale in 2011.
The show also ranked No. 1 across all 56 Nielsen-metred markets in America. ALL OF THEM!
Does this mean it is the end of live theatre on Broadway? Of course not. But it does suggest that there are alternate routes that can be examined to increase the audiences who attend those shows.
However, what I want to look at is the ratings in Oklahoma.
You would imagine that the ratings would be highest in New York City. But of all the markets monitored by Nielsen, the highest ratings came from Oklahoma City. Oklahoma doesn’t exactly have the same standing as New York City when it comes to musicals, yet the highest amount of people viewing the special live performance proudly refer to themselves as “Okies”.
Why would that be? My best bet would be the star, Carrie Underwood.
There are two important facts about Carrie Underwood that we need to consider. One, she comes from Checotah, Oklahoma. Two, she is a country singer.
Could it be that these Oklahomians (and surrounding markets) were more willing to try out a musical that featured a star the audience could relate with? That would certainly provide these markets with a greater incentive to tune into the show. And once they do that, if they enjoy what they are seeing then they will stick around and watch the rest of it – even the scenes without Carrie Underwood!
It is time for all those Carrie Underwood-haters to back off. She brought musicals into many houses across America that would never have considered taking a trip to Broadway or their local professional or amateur theatre productions . . . and maybe now they might as they clearly enjoyed this one.
(Plus, I have listened to the soundtrack that NBC is now selling and she sounds awesome. Check it out on iTunes when you have a second.)