How ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ ‘The Wiz’ and NFL Football Made NBC Thursdays Must-See TV Again

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and holiday’s late-night shows are also huge hits for broadcast net

NBC is giving thanks for its last three Thursdays.

On Thanksgiving, the morning Macy’s parade handed the broadcaster a big 22.3 million total viewers, the fall season’s most-watched entertainment telecast. By the evening, the network also owned the most-watched telecast of the season, period, when the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers battled to bring in a whopping 27.8 million total viewers.

The Nov. 26 evening ended up being the most-watched night of the season for any network, with an average of 25.7 million total viewers through primetime, as a pregame show dragged down the actual game’s average a bit. Still, that was some pretty darn big pregame coverage.

Plus, following the holiday pigskin, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers delivered their most-watched late-night shows in 20 months.

Not bad for a day’s work.

The next Thursday, it was “The Wiz Live’s” time to shine. The Shanice Williams-starring musical landed a surprisingly strong 11.5 million total viewers, dwarfing 2014’s “Peter Pan Live.” That Thursday, Dec. 3, was the best night (excluding sports) for NBC since the fall season opener — which saw impressive premieres from “The Voice” and “Blindspot.”

And beyond the traditional Nielsen numbers, “The Wiz” was also a huge hit on social media. NBC’s third live musical in as many years ended up the most-tweeted live special program in Nielsen history, which has been measured since October 2011.

Last Thursday, 279,363 people sent 1.64 million tweets about “The Wiz Live!,” which were seen by 6.37 million people a total of 128.95 million times.

Fast-forward one week, when “Dolly Parton‘s Coat of Many Colors” brought home 13 million total TV viewers, becoming the most-watched film on the broadcast networks in four-and-a-half years — a span covering 140 movies.

Together, the last two weeks have delivered the two most-watched non-sports Thursdays for any broadcast net so far this season. Considering Shondaland exists on that evening over on ABC and CBS has its own strong Thursday night lineup, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

All told, this programming has helped push NBC to its best total-viewer average — 10 million — at this point in the season in nine years. And the reigning ratings champ is going to need all the numbers it can get if the network wants to compete with CBS come Super Bowl 50 time.