The made-for-TV musical starring Tracey Ullman as the remarkably "shy" Princess Winnifred earned a 2.1 rating/6 share in the 18-49 age bracket. A single rating point represents roughly one million households; a share shows the percentage of televisions being used at the time.
“Mattress” drew a smaller audience than several previous made-for-television musicals: Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' "A Christmas Carol" scored over 9.6 million viewers, the ABC/"Wonderful World of Disney" production of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" — starring Tony winners Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth — was viewed by 13.1 million musical lovers, and the TV version of “Annie” lured nearly 40 million viewers to the small-screen version of the Broadway hit.
In terms of total viewers, FOX-TV won the Dec. 18 ratings race for adults 18-49, while CBS prevailed for adults 25-54. FOX-TV’s Sunday line-up included “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” while CBS offered “Cold Case” and “The Christmas Blessing.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” also featured Matthew Morrison as Sir Harry, Denis O'Hare as Prince Dauntless, Zooey Deschanel as Lady Larken, Tommy Smothers as King Sextimus, Michael Boatman as the Jester and Edward Hibbert as the Wizard. Carol Burnett, who starred in Mattress on Broadway in 1959 and on television in 1964 (in black and white) and in 1972 (in color), played the conniving Queen Aggravain.
The made-for-TV musical — featuring a teleplay by Janet Brownell — was directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall with costume designs by Bob Mackie. Executive producers of the new "Mattress" were Wicked's Marc E. Platt, actress Burnett and Marty Tudor.
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