Last night, NBC aired their updated version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound Of Music. Except, instead of having Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer light up our screens, we were met with the likes of Carrie Underwood and Vampire Bill…err…Stephen Moyer. Yes, in case you’ve been living under a rock, NBC brought to the masses a musical retelling of The Sound Of Music Live!
Shot as live theater (it was based on the original stage version of the show) but without the audience, Stephen Moyer brought Captain Von Trapp to life alongside a very bland performance by Carrie Underwood as Maria. I only caught some of the special and was rather unimpressed with what I was seeing. There’s something very strange with seeing what looks like live theater on television without any hint of an audience for these actors to play to. Of what I did see, it seems Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess was the right choice and her performance cemented this as something that was still real and professional.
OK, that’s as much of a theater nerd as I’m going to get on this piece. The real reason I am writing this is to highlight something rather shocking. NBC pulled in ridiculous numbers from the three-hour long simulcast. Absurdly ridiculous numbers, considering the original programming The Sound Of Music Live! was facing off against. A massive 18.5 million viewers tuned in for the special, scoring a 4.6 rating, thusly making it NBC’s largest non-sports Thursday audience since the “Frasier” finale in May 2004 (22.6 mil tuned in) and the best non-sports Thursday demo delivery since 2009’s finale of “ER” (which brought a 5.2 rating).
NBC recently put “Parks And Recreation” on a hiatus and their attempt at bringing “Dracula” to the small screen hasn’t hit the way they expected. Sure, “Community” is returning in January, but NBC has not seen amazing ratings numbers for original comedy programming in quite some time. By that logic, NBC is obviously going to start bringing live adaptations of other classic musical theater works to the small screen, right?
If that is the direction that we’re taking, let me be first to request the next special to be Guys And Dolls Live! It’d be great! We could have Michael Buble as Nathan Detroit and as Sky Masterson, we could cast….
Great Brando’s Ghost, that’s an awful idea. Do you guys have any better ones? Tell me the Broadway classics you’d want to see live on TV. I’ll just be right over here…
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