Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Sound of Music' alive for 18.5 million viewers

By Frazier Moore, Associated Press

Published: Fri, Dec. 6 12:00 a.m. MST

 This photo provided by NBC shows, from left, Sophia Ann Caruso as Brigitta, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Carrie Underwood as Maria, Ella Watts-Gorman as Louisa, Peyton Ella as Gretl, and Joe West as Kurt, in \

This photo provided by NBC shows, from left, Sophia Ann Caruso as Brigitta, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Carrie Underwood as Maria, Ella Watts-Gorman as Louisa, Peyton Ella as Gretl, and Joe West as Kurt, in "The Sound of Music Live!" airing Thursday, December 5, 2013, on NBC (8-11 p.m. ET).

(NBC, Will Hart, Associated Press)

NEW YORK — "The Sound of Music" has the sound of a hit for NBC.

Nearly 18.5 million viewers tuned to Thursday night's live telecast of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, according to the Nielsen company.

Although a preliminary audience average, the figure is expected to hold up as a measure of the three-hour production's viewership, NBC said.

It was NBC's best Thursday average, excluding sports programming, since the series finale of "Frasier" aired in May 2004, and the most-watched nonsports night on any night of the week since the Golden Globes broadcast seven years ago, the network said.

"The Sound of Music Live!" starred Carrie Underwood in the role of Maria, with Stephen Moyer ("True Blood") as Capt. Von Trapp. It was the first full-scale musical staged live for television in more than a half-century.

Viewers flocked to the broadcast, but TV critics sang some sour notes.

NBC was widely credited for trying something ambitious and risky, and Underwood was praised for braving the challenge, but her shortcomings were called out.

USA Today's Robert Bianco noted that, without Underwood's star power, the broadcast never would have happened, while adding, "the trouble is that with her, it wasn't very good."

"It's impossible not to notice that she can't act," wrote The Washington Post's Hank Stuever. "When Underwood spoke her lines, she was as flat as the label on a Swiss Miss package of cocoa."

And The Associated Press' Mark Kennedy said, "The only real problem was the real reason most people tuned in: Carrie Underwood." She displayed "zero chemistry with her love interest and lacked any intensity or shading," wrote Kennedy. "Deer in headlights have emoted more. How do you solve a problem like Maria, indeed."

A cast album of "The Sound of Music Live!" is already on sale. A home-video edition goes on sale Dec. 17.

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1. Go Utes!
Springville, UT,
Dec. 6, 2013

Fools mock.
I watch with my girlfriend yesterday and i was thoroughly entertained. People criticize everything.

2. 3grandslams
Iowa City, IA,
Dec. 6, 2013

The number of viewers shows how desperate America is for real entertainment! Sure the acting wasn't great but it was superior to what is offered as "reality tv"! And I could watch it with my kids and also sing-along. Please give me more!

Thank you Carrie Underwood for making the effort to bring fresh water to the stagnant swamp of network programming. Thank you NBC for taking the risk.

3. BalancedFulfilledLife
MISSOURI CITY, TX,
Dec. 6, 2013

Well said, 3grandslams!! While I agree Underwood struggled to make her acting believable, I found myself wanting to watch the broadcast alongside my girls because Underwood took on a wholesome role rather than the sleeze that practically every other rising star succumbs to. My opinion of Underwood went up (not down) after last night's performance.

4. xert
Santa Monica, CA,
Dec. 6, 2013

Well, I'll agree that it was better than reality TV--but that's faint praise. Ms. Underwood looked like she was out of breath every time she had to move while singing. Frauline Maria needs to hit the cardio before taking on 7 children.

5. patriot
Cedar Hills, UT,
Dec. 6, 2013

What no sex - no PC political statements - nothing blowing up - no stereotyped dysfunctional families where the kids are all pot smoking juvenile delinquents - no adultery ??? Geez who wants to see this???