‘Hairspray Live!’ hit a new ratings low for NBC’s musicals

caption
Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, left, and Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad on NBC’s “Hairspray Live!.”
source
Justin Lubin/NBC

The ratings for Wednesday’s broadcast of “Hairspray Live!” struck a sour note for NBC.

With 8.9 million viewers tuning in to the live musical production, “Hairspray Live!” hit a new low for NBC musicals, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Previously, 2014’s “Peter Pan Live!” held the dubious ratings low with 9.2 million viewers.

In regards to the demographic advertisers most desire, adults under the age of 50, it earned a 2.3 rating. That ties the 18-to-49 rating earned by “Peter Pan Live!”

The low ratings for “Hairspray” – an extravaganza that starred Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, among others – don’t mean this is the end of TV’s live musical trend. In this day, live viewers are at a premium for advertisers, so live musical programs will live on.

The social-media buzz for “Hairspray Live!” presents a mixed bag. Marketing platform Amobee analyzed real-time content consumption across the internet, video, social, and mobile around the broadcast and found 351,000 tweets around the official #HairsprayLive hashtag.

That pales in comparison to the 1.4 million tweets for Fox’s “Grease Live!” in January and NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” in December of 2015. But “Hairspray Live!” had more than three times the social-media engagement of Fox’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” in October and “The Passion Live.”

On the bright side, a majority of those who did watch “Hairspray Live!” didn’t hate what they were seeing and hearing. Amobee reported that only 9% of the tweets about the program were negative.