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NBC’s ‘Hairspray Live!’ Down but Still Dominant

Three-Hour Event is Now NBC's Lowest-Rated Live Musical To-Date

What follows are the metered market (overnight) results in households by network and by half-hour for Wednesday, December 7:

Household Rating/Share
NBC: 5.9/10, CBS: 4.8/ 8, Fox: 4.6/ 7, ABC: 3.4/ 6, CW: 1.0/ 2

Percent Change from the Year-Ago Evening:

NBC: +119, Fox: +39, CBS: -14, ABC: -23, CW: -37

Ratings Breakdown:
NBC, as expected, topped the Wednesday overnights care of “Hairspray “Live,” which averaged a 5.9 rating/10 share in households from 8-11 p.m. and finished first in each half-hour. Comparably, this was 48 percent above NBC’s Wednesday season average in households (5.9 vs. 4.0, excluding the night of the Presidential debate). But it was also NBC’s lowest-rated live musical to-date, dipping by 25 percent from the most recent, “The Wiz Live!” on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 (7.9 rating/13 share). That 7.9 overnight household rating for “The Wiz Live” translated into 11.50 million viewers and a 3.4 rating/11 share in adults 18-49, based on the Live + Same Day data/

“Hairspray Live!,” additionally, dipped in each of the six half-hours in the household overnights as follows: 6.9/11 – 6.7/11 – 6.2/10 – 5.8/ 9 – 5./1 9 – 4.8/ 9. But in adults 18-49, based on the 25 markets with local people meters, it scored a 2.6 rating/9 share, which generated NBC’s highest rated in-season Wednesday, excluding the Olympics, in four years (since Nov. 28, 2012).

On CBS, reality mainstay “Survivor” scored a solid 5.4/ 9 at 8 p.m., leading into a now typical 4.8/ 8 for “Criminal Minds” at 9 p.m. “Survivor,” which featured two tribal councils last night, concludes for this fall edition with the six remaining players featured a two hour edition next Wednesday.

Sophomore medical drama “Code Black” capped off the evening second in the 10 p.m. hour with a 4.3/ 7, which was eight percent above competing “Designated Survivor” on ABC (4.0/ 7). “Designated Survivor,” of course, will hold an advantage over “Code Black” in adults 18-49 (and all the key young adult demos).

Earlier in the evening, ABC’s two-hour comedy block — “The Goldbergs” (#4: 3.6/ 6), “Speechless” (#4: 3.0/ 5), a repeat of “Modern Family” (#4: 2.9/ 5) and “black-ish” (#4: 3.0/ 5) – was below average opposite “Hairspray Live!”

Elsewhere, Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” (#3: 4.2/ 7) led into a below-average 4.9/ 8 for “Empire” at 9 p.m., which is now suffering from the “too much too soon” syndrome. Next Wednesday, “Empire” shifts to 8 p.m. into the premiere/preview of “Star” from “Empire” creator Lee Daniels. And The CW capped off the night with “Arrow” (#5: 1.5/ 2) and “Frequency,” which earned its cancellation stripes at a 0.6/ 1 at 9 p.m.

What follows are the household overnight results for Wednesday, Nov. 9 by half-hour:

8:00 p.m.
ABC – “The Goldbergs”: 3.6/ 6 (#4)
CBS – “Survivor”: 5.5/ 9 (#2)
NBC – “Hairpray Live!”: 6.9/11 (#1)
Fox – “Lethal Weapon”: 4.0/ 7 (#3)
CW – “Arrow”: 1.5/ 2 (#5)

8:30 p.m.
ABC – “Speechless”: 3.0/ 5 (#4)
CBS – “Survivor”: 5.2/ 8 (#2)
NBC – “Hairpray Live!”: 6.7/11 (#1)
Fox – “Lethal Weapon”: 4.4/ 7 (#3)
CW – “Arrow”: 1.4/ 2 (#5)

9:00 p.m.
ABC – “Modern Family” (R): 2.9/ 5 (#4)
CBS – “Criminal Minds”: 4.7/ 8 (#3)
NBC – “Harispray Live!”: 6.2/10 (#1)
Fox – “Empire: 4.9/ 8 (#2)
CW – “Frequency”: 0.6/ 1 (#5)

9:30 p.m.
ABC – “black-ish”: 3.0/ 5 (#4)
CBS – “Criminal Minds”: 4.9/ 8 (#3)
NBC – “Hairpray Live!”: 5.8/ 9 (#1)
Fox – “Empire: 5.0/ 8 (#2)
CW – “Frequency”: 0.6/ 1 (#5)

10:00 p.m.
ABC – “Designated Survivor”: 4.0/ 7 (#3)
CBS – “Code Black”: 4.3/ 7 (#2)
NBC – “Hairpray Live!”: 5.1/ 9 (#1)

10:30 p.m.
ABC – “Designated Survivor”: 3.9/ 7 (#3)
CBS – “Code Black”: 4.2/ 7 (#2)
NBC – “Hairpray Live!”: 4.8/ 9 (#1)

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. I’m surprised at Hairspray… I thought it would be the second highest-rated after Sound of Music. I thought it was promoted very well also. Wonder why it didn’t rate higher? I doubt it was the switch from Thursday to Wednesday… Competition was probably lighter on Wednesday, actually.