America Embraces John Legend’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live,’ 9.4 Million Viewers Tune in


The early rating numbers are in and NBC’s broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert drew in Sunday night’s largest TV audience with a solid 9.4 million viewers.

The Easter Sunday event pulled in a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49, which was enough to push the John Legend-as-Jesus-Christ telecast ahead of CBS’ 60 Minutes and ABC’s American Idol. 

Alongside Legend, pop singer Sara Bareilles played Mary Magdalene and Hamilton alum Brandon Victor Dixon delivered a soulful rendition of Judas Iscariot, live in front of a large audience at the Marcy Avenue Armory in Brooklyn.

Alice Cooper stole the scene late with his powerful performance as King Herod for this latest iteration of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic 1971 rock opera, which tells the story of Christ’s last week alive, including his brutal crucifixion and death.

Star power and primetime production aside, Jesus Christ Superstar landed well below NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music Live!, which aired on Dec. 5, 2013 to 18.62 million viewers; Peter Pan Live!, which aired on Dec. 4, 2014 to 9.21 million viewers; and The Wiz Live!, which aired on Dec. 3, 2015 on NBC to 11.5 million viewers.

NBC’s live treatment of the classic comedy musical Hairspray pulled in its lowest ratings for Broadway TV adaptations, with 9 million total viewers tuning in for the December 7, 2016 showing.

Next up for NBC’s slate of live musicals is Bye Bye Birdie, which is set to star pop hit-maker Jennifer Lopez with a reported air date somewhere in 2019.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson


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