‘Rent Live’ Wins Sunday But Is The Least-Watched TV Musical

FOX’s latest live musical production broke a record, but not the kind the network had hoped. Rent Live attracted just 3.4 million viewers and a 1.4 demo rating. Unfortunately, that ranks it as the lowest-rated musical, even beating A Christmas Story Live which garnered 4.5 million viewers and a 1.5 demo.

Live Musical Ratings Ranked

Sound of Music Live (NBC, Dec. 2013): 18.6 mil/4.6
Grease Live (Fox, Jan. 2016): 12.2 mil/4.3
The Wiz Live (NBC, Dec. 2015): 11.5 mil/3.4
Peter Pan Live (NBC, Dec. 2014): 9.2 mil/2.4
Hairspray Live (NBC, Jan. 2017): 9.1 mil/2.3
Jesus Christ Superstar Live (NBC, April 2018): 9.6 mil/1.7
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Fox, Oct. 2016): 5 mil/1.7
The Passion (Fox, March 2016): 6.6 mil/1.6
A Christmas Story Live (Fox, Dec. 2017): 4.5 mil/1.5
Rent (Fox, Jan. 2019): 3.4 mil/1.4

Why such low viewership given the beloved musical has such a huge following? Could it be the fact FOX announced the production wouldn’t actually be live because of Brennin Hunt (Roger) who broke his foot the day before, forcing FOX to air taped segments from the dress rehearsal? Perhaps, it was due to some lyrics being changed to make it more family friendly? Honestly, who knows?

Admittedly, there were a few hiccups, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The set was fantastic as was Vanessa Hudgens. The former High School Musical actress slayed it. She should be in all musicals from now on. Jordan Fisher, Brandon Victor Dixon, Keala Settle and Hunt also impressed. The live portion at the end where the original Broadway cast joined the new cast was pretty remarkable as well. Goosebumps.

While FOX was airing the pre-recorded show, those lucky enough to snag tickets for the intended live show actually did see a live show. The performers belted out numbers in studio, but on a smaller stage to accommodate Hunt’s injury. You can see those performances on FOX’s YouTube. They’re labelled “Concert Rendition.”