Adele Gives NBC Its Biggest Music Special in 10 Years

Singer says 'hello' to 11 million viewers

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Adele’s media domination continues.
Three weeks after her new album, 25, had the biggest-selling debut ever, the singer turned her record-breaking powers to TV, giving NBC its highest-rated prime-time music special in 10 years.
Her concert special, Adele Live in New York City, drew 11.3 million viewers last night and rated a 3.0 in the adults ages 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen.
It was the highest-rated music special on broadcast (outside of awards shows and New Year’s Eve specials) in the demo in 10 years, since NBC aired the Eagles Farewell Tour in June 2005. The show came in just behind its lead-in, NBC’s The Voice, which drew a 3.2 rating and 14.0 million viewers.
Live in New York City, which was filmed Nov. 17 at Radio City Music Hall, was a mixture of music from 25 (including “Hello” and “When We Were Young”) and favorites like “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep.” The show generated $4.5 million in advertising, according to estimates.
With four appearances on the network in the past month, Adele has been the holiday gift that keeps on giving for NBC. She was the musical guest on the Nov. 21 episode of Saturday Night Live where she and host Matthew McConaughey gave the show its second-highest ratings in 10 months (6.2 million total viewers, and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49), behind only Donald Trump’s episode.
Her Nov. 25 Today Show appearance helped lead the morning show to its first November sweep victory in the key adults 25-54 demo in four years. And as part of her Nov. 23 Tonight Show visit, she recorded her hit single “Hello” with Fallon and The Roots accompanying her on classroom instruments. That video has been watched more than 21.8 million times on YouTube.
Adele’s robust TV ratings came as her 25 album sold 3.38 million copies during its first week in the U.S., making it the first album to sell more than 3 million copies in a week in Nielsen history. Consumers have snapped up 5.2 million copies in its first three weeks.
Adele Live in New York City is also just the latest successful special for NBC during this holiday season. This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the season’s most-watched broadcast entertainment telecast, with 22.3 million viewers (it drew a 6.0 rating in the 18-49 demo).
On Dec. 3, The Wiz Live rebounded from last year’s soft Peter Pan Live ratings, with 11.5 million total viewers and a 3.4 rating in 18-49.
And last Thursday, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors became the most-watched broadcast movie in more than four years. More than 13 million viewers tuned in, and it rated a 1.8 in 18-49. It turns out that NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt knew what he was doing when he duetted with Parton on “I Will Always Love You” at NBC’s upfront last May.
While CBS had hoped to challenge NBC for the 18-49 ratings crown this season (and will make its push in February when it broadcasts Super Bowl 50), NBC remains solidly in the lead this season, with a 2.9 average, ahead of CBS (2.5), ABC and Fox (tied for third with 2.1 each) and the CW (0.8).

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.