Not Surprisingly, Carrie Underwood Was a Major Draw for ‘The Sound of Music Live’
In 2013, Carrie Underwood made her theatrical television debut playing Maria in the NBC television special, 'The Sound of Music Live!' And now, the network is saying that it was Underwood's star power that truly made the show a success -- as if anyone is surprised.
It's no secret that live-television ratings continue to drop as more people opt for online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. So when NBC decided to try something new in 2013, it was met with applause -- especially when Underwood became attached. On Dec. 5, 2013, the country music star joined a cast of acclaimed actors for a live theater production of the beloved film, 'The Sound of Music.' With 18.47 million viewers, the event was a huge success in achieving the ratings boost that NBC had been hoping for.
Following the triumphant ratings that came with the show, NBC decided to continue the tradition in 2014 with a live production of 'Peter Pan Live!' Unfortunately, the magic didn't seem to stick this time around, bringing in just 9 million viewers -- less than half of what 'The Sound of Music Live' netted. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt says that one of the major reasons for the drop was due to the lack of a big name like Underwood.
"In spite of the fact that there was a lot of critical negativity, I think Carrie Underwood was an enormous amount of draw for 'The Sound of Music,'" he says, acknowledging the fact that the show may not have been a huge critical success, but adding that the ratings more than made up for it. "That kind of big star helped bring a bigger audience, and it was the first one, and 'The Sound of Music' was a classic, also. 'Peter Pan’ is not as well-known as a show. It’s a known fairytale, but not as well-known a show."
Greenblatt also attributed the ratings dip to the fact that 'Peter Pan' may not be as beloved or well-known with current viewership. While it certainly is a classic children's story, 'The Sound of Music' is one that has only grown in popularity throughout the years. The film plays on heavy rotation around the Christmas holidays every year and the songs in the film are classics that continue to be covered and loved since its release in 1965.
Still, NBC says that they'll be reprising their live televised theater event in 2015 with 'The Music Man' or 'The Wiz' -- both are being heavily considered. Hopefully, the network will take a cue from Underwood's success and cast another name with star power for their next production. Wouldn't Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert just shine in 'The Music Man' as Harold and Marian?!
See Childhood Pics of Carrie Underwood and More