Live productions of musicals have been a thing for awhile on network television, and each ratings success seems to inspire more future projects. Case in point: Fox aired its holiday-themed A Christmas Story Live! in hopes that the musical twist on the Christmas classic, not to mention the solid cast, would equal big ratings. Unfortunately, it appears the tale of Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun wasn't enough to entice a large audience as just under 4.5 million viewers in total tuned in.
Ultimately, the ratings for A Christmas Story Live! are still okay numbers for Fox's usual Sunday night draw in viewers, but not that good overall. 4.5 million people, as well as the 1.5 rating for the 18-49 age demographic, wouldn't be bad for a mid-season episode from one of the network's scripted efforts. But the goal for live TV events is to bring the biggest possible audience to that initial airing, and in that respect, A Christmas Story Live! did not live up to its recent predecessors.
For example, the holiday musical was far outshined by Fox's Grease: Live which aired at the end of last year to net a 4.3 ratings share, with12.18 million total viewers. It's also well below NBC's critically panned Peter Pan Live! from 2014, which still managed to get a 2.4 demo rating and 9.2 million viewers. Given those comparisons, it's understandable why some executives at Fox could be spending their day shouting "fudge" into a pillow.
Currently, A Christmas Story Live! holds the title of the lowest-rated broadcast musical to date, which is not an accolade anyone wants to feature on a poster for future airings. Tvbythenumbers shows the musical did manage to beat out ABC's annual showing of the feature The Sound of Music in the 18-49 demo, but was edged out in the overall viewership category by about roughly 60 thousand viewers. It appears that while the streets of Hohman, Indiana were alive with the intermittent sounds of music, bigger audiences were to be found returning to the hills to hear "My Favorite Things" and "Edelweiss."
A Christmas Story Live!'s woes didn't end with the disappointing numbers, either, as Twitter was all too ready to roast the attempted twist on the Christmas classic with insults. Quite a few people on the web said that the updated take on the original film was nowhere close to the same level in quality, and some went even further by deeming the musical an insult. One particular Twitter critic even took it as far to say the entire annual TBS marathon would be needed to wash the bad taste out.
So it's probably safe to say A Christmas Story Live! won't overtake the original film in becoming a new Christmas tradition anytime soon, and surely Fox is going try something different in choosing which live musicals it wishes to develop in the future. In the network's defense, A Christmas Story: The Musical had a successful run on Broadway in 2012, so it's not as though there wasn't a track record of success prior to this airing.
A Christmas Story Live! is currently available to watch on Fox via its on-demand platform. To see what else is going to air in the final weeks of 2017, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide. Those wishing to see what shows are new or returning in 2018 can visit our midseason premiere guide. Finally, anyone curious as to what shows were canceled in 2017 can head on over to our cancellation guide.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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