Ratings Watch: The Wiz Live! is a Hit for NBC

Michael Schneider
The Wiz Live! - Season 1
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

NBC’s The Wiz Live! eased on down the Nielsen road to big ratings Thursday night.

The three-hour event averaged 11.1 million viewers, up from last year’s Peter Pan Live audience (9.2 million). It still couldn’t beat 2013’s Sound of Music Live (18.6 million) – but that musical benefited from the novelty of being first (and also being filled with iconic, familiar songs).

The Wiz Live also scored something neither of those previous productions pulled off: rave reviews from critics and viewers on social media.

In the key adults 18-49 demographic, The Wiz Live averaged a 3.3 rating – up from Peter Pan’s 2.4, but not reaching Sound of Music’s 4.6.

The Wiz Live did particularly well with women 25-54 (5.4 rating) and women 18-49 (4.6). The special faced stiff competition from Thursday Night Football on CBS, which featured a nail-biter face-off between Green Bay and Detroit.

More data from NBC, which says The Wiz Live:

· Delivered the highest-rated non-sports Thursday for any network in more than a year, since Sept. 25, 2014 (ABC, 3.6 for the season premieres of “Grey's Anatomy” and “Scandal” and the series premiere of How To Get Away With Murder).
· Captured NBC’s second-highest-rated Thursday in more than five years, since March 4, 2010 (3.5), trailing over that span only 2013's "The Sound of Music Live!" (4.6).
· In total viewers, it’s the most-watched non-sports Thursday for any network since Feb. 19 (CBS, 12.442 million with the series finale of “Two and a Half Men” and the series premiere of “The Odd Couple.”)
· It’s NBC’s second-best non-sports Thursday in six years since April 2, 2009 (14.496 million the night of the “ER” series finale), trailing over that span only 2013's "The Sound of Music Live!" (18.624 million).

And on Twitter, per NBC:

·  The Wiz Live! is the #1 most social live special program since Nielsen Social began tracking Twitter TV activity in October 2011  (Source: Nielsen, excluding award shows and political events).
· 279,400 people sent 1.6 million tweets about The Wiz Live! on 12/3/15 and 6.4 million people saw those tweets a total of 128.9 million times.
·  On a 24/7 basis, 297,500 people sent 1.7 million tweets about The Wiz Live! on 12/3/15 and 7.0 million people saw those tweets a total of 135.5 million times.
· The Wiz Live! more than tripled Tweets than the earlier two live specials on NBC (449,536 for Sound of Music Live,  474,735 for Peter Pan Live).
· The most tweeted minute occurred at 8:49 pm ET with 15,218 tweets after Ne-Yo hit the dab.

The strong ratings for The Wiz pretty much assure the continuation of NBC’s live musical holiday franchise. Next up, Fox will get into the game on Jan. 31 with Grease Live.

On the other networks, ABC’s CMA Country Christmas averaged 5.8 million viewers, while Fox aired repeat episodes of Bones and Sleepy Hollow.