Ratings: ‘Sound of Music’ Gives NBC’s Biggest Thursday Since ‘ER’ Finale

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Night hits high note since 2009, excluding football

NBC executives are toasting this morning with tea (a drink with jam and bread): “The Sound of Music Live” gave the network its biggest non-sports Thursday since the finale of “ER” in 2009.

The holiday special, starring Carrie Underwood, earned a 4.6 rating/13 share the key 18-49 demographic, and 18.5 million viewers overall. That gave NBC its highest Thursday total viewership since the “Frasier” finale in 2004.

Also read: NBC’s ‘Sound of Music Live': Hollywood’s Best Reactions

For the first time this fall, NBC beat a CBS lineup anchored by “The Big Bang Theory,” broadcast TV’s highest-rated scripted show. “Big Bang” tied for the top show in the demo with a 4.6 rating, and was second in total viewers with 15.3 million. NBC is the top-rated network this season, but Thursday nights have been a weak spot.

Also read: ‘Sound of Music’ Ratings: 5 Milestones It Hit for NBC

The strong numbers paid off a big gamble for NBC. As noted at the top of the show, it was the first time in 50 years a network had attempted a live musical. The three-hour running time gave over a full night of primetime to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, updating the beloved story by adding an “American Idol” as Maria and “True Blood” star Stephen Moyer as Capt. Von Trapp.

CBS was second in ratings and total viewers with a 2.5/7 and 9.5 million. After “Big Bang,” “The Millers” at 8:30 had a 2.5/7 and 9.4 million. “The Crazy Ones” at 9 had a 2.1/6 and 7.7 million. At 9:30, “Two and a Half Men” had a 2.3/6 and 8.3 million. “Elementary” at 10 had a 1.8/5 and 8.2 million.

ABC was third in ratings and total viewers with a 2.2/6 and 6.6 million. At 8, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” weighed down the network’s average with a 1.0/3 and 3.6 million total viewers. At 9, “Grey’s Anatomy” had a 2.4/6 and 7.5 million. “Scandal” at 10 had a 3.1/8 and 8.6 million.

Fox was fourth in ratings and total viewers with a 1.2/3 and 4 million total viewers. At 8, “X Factor” had a 1.3/4 and 4.8 million. “Glee” at 9 had a 1.1/3  and 3.2 million.

Univision was fifth in both categories with a 1.0/3 and 2.8 million.

In sixth in both was The CW, with a .8/2 and 2 million. “Vampire Diaries” had 8 had a 1.0/3 and 2.3 million. “Reign” at 9 had a .6/2 and 1.7 million.

Telemundo came in seventh in the demo and total viewers with a .6/2 and 1.4 million.