Fox’s Rent managed to evict a lot of musical theater fans.
The live-ish special ranks as the least-watched broadcast TV musical event in recent years.
Rent had only 3.6 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 on Sunday night, just barely edging out ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos in the 8 p.m. hour.
That’s below the previous last-place finisher, Fox’s staging of A Christmas Story Live from back in December 2017.
The modern era of live TV musicals was launched by NBC in with 2013’s The Sound of Music Live which delivered a staggering 18.6 million viewers. NBC and Fox have tried multiple times to replicate its success — such as Peter Pan Live, Grease Live, and Hairspray Live. Some productions have fared better than others, but none have topped The Sound of Music and there’s been an overall downward trend in recent years.
Rent was notable for being not-quite live as cast member Brennin Hunt broke his foot before showtime, so Fox had to use some pre-taped footage from a dress rehearsal sparking mocking hashtags such as #RENTkindalive.
In EW’s review, Darren Franich gave Rent a B-, though he praised star Vanessa Hudgens.