Why ABC Fast-Tracked 2nd ‘Disney Family Singalong’ – It Wasn’t Just a Lack of Programming

But that was definitely a factor

Derek Hough in 'Disney Family Singalong'

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ABC’s “Disney Family Singalong” had plenty of Disney magic — and viewers. The wonderful April 16 special’s wonderful TV ratings, when combined with the general lack of original programming left for any network due to the coronavirus, made fast-tracking a followup a no-brainer.

In Live + Same Day viewing, the initial special on Thursday, April 16 scored a 2.6 rating/13 share among adults 18-49 and 10.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. Those very strong returns in today’s heavily fragmented — and heavily delayed — television-viewing environment made the singalong TV’s highest-rated show on any network since ABC’s Oscar telecast, which aired on Feb. 9. After three days of (mostly) DVR viewing, the celebrity-packed event’s Nielsen numbers rose to a 3.2 rating/15 share and 12.2 million viewers. That’s growth of +23% in the key demographic and +17% in overall eyeballs. With a full week of delayed viewing factored in, the first “Disney Family Singalong” charted a 3.4/16 and 12.7 million viewers. And that’s not even counting viewership on the Disney+ streaming service. “Disney Family Singalong” migrated to Disney+ on April 21. Eight days later, ABC announced a second “Family Singalong” special. The Walt Disney Company does not report viewership statistics for its subscription streaming services. Among kids, which counts individuals ages 2 to 11, the singalong is tied in both Live + 3 Day ratings and Live + 7 Day ratings for the highest-rated primetime telecast of the entire TV season, which dates back to mid-September. Appropriately, the special is tied with ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live!” special from November. There is a smidge of an asterisk with that “highest-rated” qualifier: The post-Super Bowl episode of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” technically has a higher rating than those two Disney Princess-heavy specials, but that’s to be expected. The show airing immediately after the highest-rated television show of the year always posts a massive audience number. That fact is almost a disqualifier for fair comparisons. Among teens, individuals 12-17, the “Disney Family Singalong” ranks fifth for the whole season, behind only that “Masked Singer” episode, the Grammys, the Oscars and the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour of ABC’s New Year’s Eve countdown show. So yeah, we’d greenlight a second singalong immediately, too — especially if our reserve of original programming was dwindling down to basically zero with the ability to restart production nowhere in sight. Add in how relatively cheap it is to produce one of these Disney Family Singalongs, which essentially requires a few iPhones and Ryan Seacrest’s kitchen. ABC’s followup, “The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II” is set to premiere on Sunday, May 10 at 7/6c. Happy Mother’s Day, especially to “American Idol,” which gets a great lead-in in lieu of flowers. Some number of days, later it too will join the Disney+ library.

“The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II” is produced by Done+Dusted. Executive producers include Done+Dusted’s Hamish Hamilton, Katy Mullan and Raj Kapoor.