'Grease: Live' dances its way to slick ratings for Fox

'Grease: Live' dances its way to slick ratings for Fox
Julianne Hough, left, who plays Sandy, and Aaron Tveit, who plays Danny, and the rest of the cast and ensemble, rehearse a scene for Fox's upcoming "Grease: Live" musical production. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

"Grease: Live" shooby doo-wop she-bopped its way to ratings success for Fox.

The network's elaborate three-hour live telecast of the musical brought in 12.2 million viewers and a sleek 4.3 rating among adults ages 18-49, according to Nielsen. It easily helped the network win Sunday night.

"Grease: Live" marked Fox's foray into live musical productions, taking a cue from its rival NBC on staging live events to battle the power of the DVR and other on-demand viewing habits to lure in audiences.

When compared to its NBC predecessors, "Grease: Live" outperformed December's telecast of  "The Wiz" (11.5 million viewers) and 2014's "Peter Pan" (9.2 million viewers), the margin was more considerable when focusing on the ratings among the young adult demographic. Still, the Fox telecast didn't quite top 2013's "The Sound of Music Live," which attracted 18.3 million live viewers.

The Sunday production was staged by Thomas Kail, known most recently for his celebrated stage work with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the smash "Hamilton," and featured performances by Julianne Hough and Aaron Tviet as Sandy and Danny, respectively.  But getting a lot of love on social media was Vanessa Hudgens, who took the stage as Rizzo just a day after her father died from cancer.

As has become the norm with these types of live musical events, social media was rampant with "Grease: Live"  Abour 1.2 million tweets were sent about the the telecast, according to Nielsen data cited by the network. The most-tweeted minute occurred at 8:31 p.m. EST with 9,350 tweets coming after Boyz II Men appeared and sang "Beauty School Dropout."

During the elaborate production, which unfolded over two sound stages on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, viewers with an affinity for second-screen viewing were treated to a live backstage show on Facebook that gave a behind-the-scenes peek during commercial breaks. The 13 backstage videos have received more than 2 million views, according to the network.

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