Ratings: NBC’s Peter Pan Didn’t Fly Nearly As High As The Sound of Music

Photo: NBC

Tinkerbell’s magic wasn’t enough to allow NBC’s Peter Pan Live! to soar in the Nielsens: Thursday’s production of the musical classic drew a modest 9.2 million viewers and a 2.3 rating among viewers under 50, according to preliminary national ratings data. While that’s a solid tune-in for a network TV show in 2014 — particularly since nearly all those viewers watched in real time as opposed to on DVRs — Peter Pan did exactly half as well as last year’s Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood (18.5 million, 4.6 in the demo). And while the Allison Williams–Christopher Walken extravaganza boosted NBC well above its usual anemic Thursday numbers, the network actually ended up averaging slightly fewer viewers than CBS Thursday and only just edged out CBS in the key demo. Audiences also lost interest in the show during its very long running time (or maybe had to go to bed): While 11.4 million were in front of their sets at 8 p.m., by the show’s final half-hour, that number had dwindled to just 7 million.

NBC execs were out in front of the disappointing results. Before national numbers were even in, Peacock chief Robert Greenblatt put out a statement saying he didn’t expect the same blockbuster numbers as last year, since the newness factor of a live-TV musical wasn’t in play this year. And he made it clear he was planning on another live production. “I love these live events and we're already working on putting the next one together,” he said, praising Williams, Walken, and the show’s production team for “three months of the hardest work I’ve ever seen.” One bright spot for Peter Pan Live: The show actually dominated among very young adults, drawing a 2.0 with viewers 18–34 — nearly double CBS’s 1.3. It also did very well with teenagers, who have largely checked out of watching live broadcast TV but last night tuned into the Peacock at a rate equal to that of ABC, CBS, Fox, and the CW combined. One last note: As of last night, Fox said it was still planning to mount a live production of Grease in 2015. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes given last night’s ratings.