Jesus Christ Superstar was the buzz April 1, with NBC adding its fifth title to its live musical broadcast arsenal. The live concert presentation pulled a 6.0 overnight rating with Nielsen metered market households and a 1.7 with adults 18–49, according to Variety.
The event, reaching a total 9.4 million, landed above CBS’ 60 Minutes and ABC’s American Idol for the Sunday evening.
The telecast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera was on par with the Peacock network's last live musical offering: 2016’s Hairspray Live (which landed 9 million viewers). While Jesus Christ Superstar’s initial 6.0 rating was a considerable boost from the most recent live musical (Fox’s A Christmas Story, which pulled a 2.8), some of the earlier titles remain up top: NBC’s The Wiz Live!, Fox’s Grease: Live, and the one that started the craze, NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!, which reached a total of 18.6 million viewers.
Adjusted numbers and total viewership are expected to come later today.
This was NBC’s first musical broadcast on a Sunday evening (the previous four titles aired on weeknights), as well as the first to air on a holiday (scheduled, appropriately, for Easter). The all-star cast included John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas.
NBC aims to bring similar star power to another live musical in development: Bye Bye Birdie, produced by and starring Jennifer Lopez. The product, initially slated to air December 17, 2017, has been pushed back repeatedly and currently eyes a 2019 broadcast. Meanwhile, Fox will present a live production of Rent January 27, 2019.