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Fox’s live staging of A Christmas Story Live! had a difficult time finding a crowd Sunday night.
The holiday special, and the sixth live musical to air on the Big Four in recent years, suffered in the face of football on two networks and only barely matched ABC’s annual encore airing of The Sound of Music in early ratings.
Preliminary numbers give the network’s song-and-dance spin on the 1983 feature film a 2.8 overnight rating among households, keeping Fox at the bottom of the Sunday ratings race. Fox’s only other live musical, Grease Live!, back in 2016, aired without any NFL competition (or the obstacle of unfamiliar music) and pulled in nearly three times the returns. With Fast Affiliate returns, ones that don’t yet reflect time zone adjustments, A Christmas Story is eying 4.5 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. That at least made it a bigger draw among younger viewers than ABC’s Sound, which took a 0.9 rating in the demo.
It really didn’t help Fox that it faced two particularly formidable football games. CBS’ coverage of the New England Patriots’ wild win over the Pittsburgh Steelers propelled the network’s lineup, even though just a half-hour of it aired in primetime. The game averaged a 17.0 rating among households, airing on 32 percent of the country’s TV’s, easily making it the highest-rated NFL game of the 2017 season.
The Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Oakland Raiders inched up 6 percent from a week ago, averaging a 12.3 overnight rating among households. Unfortunately, even that winning score was a 20 percent dip from the comparable SNF showdown in 2016 — another game featuring the Cowboys, who’ve been a particularly dampened primetime draw this season.
In non-sporting TV, 60 Minutes was bolstered by the Patriots’ game. It took in 15 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 before lifted episodes of Wisdom of the Crowd (1.1 adults), NCIS: Los ANgeles (0.9 adults) and Madam Secretary (0.7 adults).
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