By James Hibberd
Updated December 06, 2013 at 04:01 PM EST

NBC’s big winter gamble paid off: The Sound of Music Live! delivered a massive audience Thursday night.

The three-hour performance of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical delivered 18.5 million viewers and a great 4.6 rating among adults 18-49. Excluding sports, this is NBC’s biggest Thursday in the adult demo since the ER finale in 2009 and most-watched Thursday since the Frasier finale in 2004. Obviously, it’s also far and away NBC’s strongest non-sports Thursday performance this season; the network has had all sorts of ratings headaches on this night given its troubled comedy block. Sound of Music was Thursday’s most-watched show and tied CBS’ Big Bang Theory in the demo to win the evening.

While skepticism about the Sound of Music stunt ran high leading up to the show, viewers were generally enthusiastic about the performance, which was executed without any technical or performance glitches.

Here’s our Q&A with Carrie Underwood about the event. Here’s our moment-by-moment live blog of the telecast. Here’s our ranking of all the songs performed.

Also Thursday: ABC’s Scandal hit a five-week high. Full chart: