Musicals have become increasingly popular among major TV networks over the years, as live events can lead to large live audiences. That said, while live musicals can often win some solid ratings for networks, they're not guaranteed successes. Some TV fans may have been curious as to whether ABC's The Little Mermaid Live! would be a success or flop, and judging from the live ratings, the star-studded adaptation of Disney's beloved story was more of a hit than miss.
The Little Mermaid Live! has a Live+Same day rating of 2.6 in the 18-49 age demographic. In terms of viewership, Variety reported the star-studded musical pulled in just under 9 million viewers. While solid, it wasn't the most-viewed live musical to ever appear on television, nor was it the most-watched broadcast of the night. That honor belongs to NCIS, which pulled in 10.7 million total viewers.
While The Little Mermaid Live! didn't get enough viewers to be the most-watched program of the night, it did dominate in the ratings. The second highest ratings win of the night was a tie between The Voice and This Is Us, each with 1.3 in the 18-49 demo. Although NCIS had the most-viewed episode of the night, it came in third in the ratings with a 1.0. Overall, The Little Mermaid Live! helped ABC maintain a 2.0 rating average throughout the night, which is solid.
When compared to other live television musicals, The Little Mermaid Live! was the highest-rated made-for-TV musical since Grease: Live! which aired on Fox back in 2016. Fox's production of Rent: Live back in January did far worse in comparison with a 1.4 rating and 3.4 million total viewers, though that could've been linked to issues beyond the show's control.
The overall viewership of The Little Mermaid Live! lagged behind 2018's Jesus Christ Superstar Live, which pulled in 9.6 million in Live+Same Day totals. That said, The Little Mermaid Live! still won out in the ratings by a wide margin, with the John Legend-starring Jesus Christ Superstar Live only netting a 1.7 rating.
As previously mentioned, The Little Mermaid Live! was the highest-rated made-for-TV musical since Grease: Live. That slightly-altered production gathered a total audience of 12.18 million total viewers, and a Live+Same Day rating of 4.3 in the 18-49 demographic. So while The Little Mermaid Live! did well, obviously there was some potential for it to have done even better. Still, it’s not like there should be any disappointment on ABC’s end on how the special performed, because those ratings and viewership are still very good.
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