Despite all of the effort and their marketing, we can’t say that A Christmas Story Live! ratings are the equivalent of a major award.
Sunday night’s broadcast of the adaptation — a bizarre one that you can read a full review for at CarterMatt here — ended up generating in total a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic to go along with around 4.5 million viewers. This pales dramatically from when Grease Live! drew more than 12 million viewers and a whopping 4.3 rating in the demo when it aired in February 2016.
We said from the start that airing A Christmas Story Live! on December 17 was a mistake, if for no other reason than that you were forcing yourself to air against late-season NFL coverage both in terms of the late afternoon and in primetime. First, you had the showdown still going on between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, one that ended up being the highest-rated NFL game of the entire season to date. Beyond that, you then hate in primetime the Dallas Cowboys playing the Oakland Raiders. You never want to air anything opposite the Cowboys, let alone a late-season game between two AFC rivals. We feel like more than anything the NFL sunk the musical — for all of the talk of lower ratings this season this is not a rival that you want to go up against. Bad things tend to happen when shows do.
Instead, A Christmas Story Live! should have actually aired on Fox Wednesday night, on the other side of The Voice and where the only significant competition was the Survivor finale on CBS. While that show tends to draw good ratings, it’s nowhere near the threat of the NFL. Regardless, though, we do think that this adaptation had a ceiling of around a 2.3 or so in the demo. The difference between A Christmas Story and Grease is that the latter was already a beloved musical before it was brought to Fox; A Christmas Story is great the way it is. These ratings are in part a rejection of the live musical format for this particular product; while we know there were some people on social media who seemed to enjoy it, many found themselves watching for a few minutes only to turn the channel off.
If we were Fox, we wouldn’t view this simply as some failed experiment. While there were some failures that came out of it ratings-wise, hopefully they learned enough about scheduling that they can take this and use it moving into the future.
What do you think of the A Christmas Story Live! ratings on the night? Be sure to share in the comments below!
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