Oh Dolly! Parton's NBC movie is most-watched in 3 years

Could "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" usher in a new era of made-for-TV movies?

Made-for-TV movies may have reached their peak in the 1970s with classics like "Brian’s Song" and "That Certain Summer." But the format still has some punch left in it: Last night, "Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors" became the most-watched film on any broadcast network since May 20, 2012, with 12.84 million viewers (according to the fast national data).

Excluding sports and live musicals, this was NBC’s most-watched program in the Thursday 9-11 p.m. block since the finale of long-running medical drama "ER" on April 2, 2009. NBC won the evening in total viewers, with 10.95 million (which included 8-9 p.m. holiday special "Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood"). CBS was second at 8.85 million, followed by Fox (4.49), ABC (3.19) and The CW (1.07).

Even Dolly Parton, could not lift NBC to nightly victory in the coveted adults 18-49 demo. But a 1.8 rating was the highest-rated TV movie on the broadcast networks in the demo since Dec. 9, 2012. And Parton’s movie delivered NBC’s top 18-49 rating in the time period since Jan. 30, 2014 excluding sports and live musicals.??

Led by "The Big Bang Theory," CBS dominated this second Thursday in December in adults 18-49 with a 2.2. Next was NBC at a 1.6, followed by ABC (1.0), which featured 8-9 p.m. special "Toy Story at 20: To Infinity and Beyond," which lead into a rebroadcast of the 1995 classic theatrical. Fox was fourth at a 0.9, with perennially last-place The CW clocking in at a 0.5.

Since success breeds imitation, don’t be surprised to see a return of the once highly populated made-for television movie format to go along with live musicals like NBC’s recent ratings smash "The Wiz Live!"

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