NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live” donned its Easter Sunday best, beating ABC’s “American Idol” in early TV ratings and striking down broadcast television’s other recent musicals.
Last night’s special, which starred singer John Legend in the titular role, posted a 6.0 overnight rating/10 share in the 56 metered-markets monitored by Nielsen. Excluding sports and the network’s Golden Globes, that is NBC’s top time slot (8 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.) rating in three years — since the “SNL 40” special.
Those earliest-available Nielsen numbers dwarf broadcast TV’s most recent live musical. December’s “A Christmas Story Live,” which aired on Fox, managed a 2.8 overnight rating/5 share. Shoulda kept Christ in Christmas, you guys.
“Hairspray Live,” NBC’s own previous effort, also earned a 6.0 rating/10 share in household results. That special aired on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. Keeping pace here is a big win for Bob Greenblatt’s net.
This isn’t the first Easter-timed and religious-themed live TV musical. Remember Fox’s “The Passion”? No? Well, that one which on March 20, 2016 to a 4.3/7 in the metered markets. Not getting past the pearly gates with those numbers, we’re afraid.
Technically, “Jesus Christ Superstar” ended at 10:23 p.m., so these numbers are subject to some adjustment. Check back with us later for more details and a total viewer tally.