‘The Wiz Live’ Soars Past ‘Peter Pan’ in Early Ratings

NBC’s third live musical gives “Thursday Night Football” a run for its money

The Wiz Live

“The Wiz Live!” nearly eased on down the road past CBS’ “Thursday Night Football” coverage last night in Nielsen’s 56 metered-market household ratings — and it straight-up walloped the primetime NFL game per the smaller sample-size local people meters.

Ultimately, CBS bested NBC per that first very preliminary Nielsen metric, though by just two-tenths of a ratings point. The networks tied for audience share, there.

In the 25-market LPM’s 18-49 demographic — the all-important age-range for broadcast advertisers — NBC’s primetime average actually easily topped that of CBS, with a 4.4/14 versus a 3.1/10. In the rough demo snapshot, the musical beat the NFL contest coverage in all six head-to-head half hours.

In those admittedly few markets that have local people meters, “The Wiz Live!” delivered the highest-rated Thursday for any network — excluding sports — in nearly three years. And on just NBC, excluding sports once-again, it was the highest-rated Thursday since April 2, 2009’s “ER” finale. That all said, LPM numbers are likely to be inflated due to the event’s major market appeal.

Back in those bigger-picture metered-market households, CBS scored a 8.1 rating/13 share across primetime, while NBC song-and-danced to a 7.9/13. NBC’s number spells the highest-rated Thursday for any network in the local markets, excluding sports, in more than a year. On just NBC, you can up that to two years, since “The Sound of Music Live!” (a gaudy 10.9). That means, quite obviously, “The Wiz Live!” bested “Peter Pan Live!,” per the early count.

Versus its big contemporary competition, “The Wiz Live!” comfortably topped the “Thursday Night Football” pregame show right at 8 o’clock, and hung in there for the first half-hour of the actual game. But the Green Bay Packers’ come-from-behind, instant-classic victory proved too much after that overall, pulling away.

It was a good night for CBS to program a Hail Mary, walk-off pro football win for one of the NFL’s most-beloved franchises. Just like they planned it.

Last night is a pretty squirrely one for reporting early ratings. Live sports and events tend to over-inflate the early numbers anyway, and “The Wiz” ending at the weird time of 10:45 requires a little more time for a little more math.

Fast-national ratings for “The Wiz Live!” are due in at 11 a.m. ET; more accurate fast-official ratings within a couple hours after that.

So, check back soon — this won’t be the last quantifying post about NBC’s latest live hit today.