NBC executives must be kicking themselves for not airing the live three-hour Sound of Music special during the all-important November ratings book. The ratings are the best Thursday night numbers that NBC has been able to garner since the days of Friends, Seinfeld and ER.
18.5 million homes were tuned to NBC primetime last night. The latest rendition of the 50-year-old Rogers and Hammerstein musical did especially well with young viewers. The live event got a 4.6 rating with those between 18-49, an elusive demographic for the networks. That is the best rating in that age range for NBC since the finale of Frasier in 2004.
Today network programmers are undoubtedly scrambling to cast live performances of West Side Story starring One Direction, The Music Man with Justin Timberlake and Hello Dolly with Lady Gaga.
But there is an underlying reason for the wild success of a show that is receiving, at best, lukewarm reviews. Social media-fueled interest. @SoundOfMusic and #TheSoundofMusicLive were top trending topics on Twitter for hours on end last night, easily beating #Mandela, a sad commentary.
It didn’t matter that Carrie Underwood, who played Maria, couldn’t act, or that there were multiple audio and camera problems, or that it didn’t hold a candle to the 1965 version starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The tweets were more entertaining than the performance — and you had to watch to enjoy them.
Social Media is the reason for the success with the young demographic. If the audience can interact during a live event, as if they are all sitting in one giant living room watching the show, they will watch, even if it is bad. Maybe especially if it is bad. You can bet network executives took notice. The starkness of the tweets didn’t matter, it's the number of tweets that gets the execs excited.
Here are some examples. Enjoy:
My wife watched #TheSoundOfMusicLive last night. Carrie Underwood played her role with all the charisma of a UPS truck.
— P Scott Patterson (@OriginalPSP) December 6, 2013
Watching #TheSoundOfMusicLive. I keep expecting Fran Drescher to enter as The Nanny
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) December 6, 2013
I'm Jewish but I may have to root for the Nazis in this one #TheSoundOfMusicLive
— David Brody (@David_Brody) December 6, 2013
"Julie Andrews is spinning around in her grave." "Julie Andrews isn't dead." "She will be after she watches this." #TheSoundOfMusicLive
— Brian Hall (@tauycreek) December 6, 2013
The hills need to come alive with the sound of acting lessons. #TheSoundOfMusicLive
— Scott Bishop (@thescottbishop) December 6, 2013
Underwood's singing is great, but her acting's so wooden, the Dutch are gonna invade before the Germans. #thesoundofmusiclive
— Joan Tintor (@TintorDetto) December 6, 2013
No gazebo. No goat puppet show. At this point I'm just watching #TheSoundOfMusicLive to make sure the Nazis don't win in this version.
— Harvey Jenkins MD (@bodysculptorokc) December 6, 2013
I've seen more heat between two people when my parents ask each other where the Pepto is after a big meal #TheSoundOfMusicLive
— Michelle Markowitz (@michmarkowitz) December 6, 2013
If things had gone differently 8 years ago, we would be watching Bo Bice play Maria right now. #TheSoundOfMusicLive
— desi jedeikin (@DesiJedeikin) December 6, 2013
To be fair there were a lot of postive tweets too. They just weren't as funny:
— Missy Robertson (@MissyDuckWife) December 6, 2013
— Ariane Rinehart (@arianerinehart) December 6, 2013
— taryn (@tarynld_) December 6, 2013
Alright. Enough. of that. Let's end with this one:
— Shyaporn (@Shyaporn) December 6, 2013