Live TV Musicals Ranked by Ratings, From ‘Annie Live!’ to ‘Grease’ (Photos)

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NBC’s “Annie Live!” bowed Thursday as the first new live musical production to air on broadcast TV since ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!” in November 2019.

It also marked NBC’s return to the genre, which it hasn’t ventured into since “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” on Easter Sunday of 2018, and the first of the Big 4 networks’ live-TV musicals to be made during the COVID-19 era.

So naturally, all eyes were on how the Taraji P. Henson- and Harry Connick Jr.-led “Annie Live!” performed in TV ratings and viewership, as that’s going to be used as an indicator of what “Tomorrow” looks like for the genre.

Also Read: Harry Connick Jr’s ‘Daddy Warbucks’ Bald Cap Gets Hard-Knocked by ‘Annie Live!’ Viewers

On the plus side, “Annie Live!” averaged 5.155 million total viewers, which was better than Fox’s “Rent” and “A Christmas Story.” Unfortunately, “Annie” ranks dead last in the key demo of adults 18-49, though that may be more of an indicator on how young adults view broadcast television in late 2021 vs. late 2019.

“Annie Live!” faced a lot of competition last night: Fox aired “Thursday Night Football,” ABC had a highly anticipated Alec Baldwin interview in the first hour of primetime, and CBS did well with its first few sitcoms.

Scroll through our gallery to see how each of broadcast TV’s modern-day, live musical productions rank by Nielsen numbers. Lowest-rated is first, highest-rated is last.

Also Read: ‘Annie Live!’ Draws 5 Million Viewers, Lowest of All NBC’s Live-TV Musicals

Rank: 11
Musical: “Annie Live!”
Date: December 2, 2021
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 0.9
Total viewers: 5.155 million

Rank: 10
Musical: “Rent”
Date: January 27, 2019
Network: Fox
18-49 rating: 1.4
Total viewers: 3.415 million

Rank: 9
Musical: “A Christmas Story: Live”
Date: Dec. 17, 2017
Network: Fox
18-49 rating: 1.5
Total viewers: 4.481 million

Rank: 8
Musical: “The Passion”
Date: March 20, 2016
Network: Fox
18-49 rating: 1.6
Total viewers: 6.648 million

Rank: 7
Musical: “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!”
Date: April 1, 2018
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 1.7
Total viewers: 9.607 million

Rank: 6
Musical: “Hairspray Live!”
Date: Dec. 7, 2016
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 2.3
Total viewers: 9.045 million

Rank: 5
Musical: “Peter Pan Live!”
Date: Dec. 4, 2014
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 2.4
Total viewers: 9.211 million

Rank: 4
Musical: “The Little Mermaid Live!”
Date: Nov. 5, 2019
Network: ABC
18-49 rating: 2.6
Total viewers: 8.978 million

Rank: 3
Musical: “The Wiz Live!”
Date: Dec. 3, 2015
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 3.4
Total viewers: 11.498 million

Rank: 2
Musical: “Grease: Live”
Date: Jan. 1, 2016
Network: Fox
18-49 rating: 4.3
Total viewers: 12.206 million

Rank: 1
Musical: “Sound of Music Live!”
Date: Dec. 5, 2013
Network: NBC
18-49 rating: 4.6
Total viewers: 18.624 million