Heck, even 'Peter Pan Live' did better

By James Hibberd
Updated October 21, 2016 at 04:07 PM EDT
Credit: John Medland/Fox

Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake somewhat disappointed in the ratings Thursday night, scoring lower viewership and demo ratings than any of the major prime-time musicals aired by the broadcast networks in recent years.

The two-hour special starring Laverne Cox garnered largely positive reviews (EW called it “never not fun”) but delivered 4.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49. Those numbers are far from terrible –Fox’s Scream Queens would happily kill for a 1.7 nowadays — but demo rating is down a steep 63 percent from the network’s previous musical event, Grease Live.

To be fair, not many expected a cult-favorite title like Rocky Horror to match the broad appeal of Grease, and doing Rocky Horror as a taped movie rather than live might have made it seem less like an event. But when producing a major special, one expects bigger numbers given how previous titles have performed — even NBC’s much-derided 2014 special Peter Pan Live did a 2.3 rating, while last December’s NBC’s The Wiz Live, had a big 4.4 rating. And of course, nothing has topped NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, which kicked off the modern TV musical trend in 2013 by surprising the industry with 18.6 million viewers and a 4.6 rating.