Nearly 18.5 million viewers watched NBC’s live production of “The Sound of Music” Thursday night.
The huge numbers represent a big victory for NBC, for which this three-hour production — broadcast live from a soundstage in Long Island — was a high-stakes gamble.
It paid off, though, with an overnight Nielsen tally of 18.437 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (7-10c) — the best audience for NBC on a Thursday night (excluding sports) since the series finale of “Frasier” in May 2004 (22.597 million viewers).
The three-hour “Sound of Music Live!” also paid dividends where it counted most — in the 18-49 age demographic networks and advertisers crave.
NBC scored an average 4.6 rating over the three hours of the telecast in the 18-49 group — its best performance on a Thursday night in the demo since the series finale of “ER” in April 2009, NBC said.
The NBC musical blockbuster — starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer in the lead roles of Maria and Capt. Von Trapp — beat everything on every other network Thursday night, when the high-profile competition included original episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS and “Scandal” on ABC.