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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

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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.