Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” wrapped NBC in viewers last year — but Wednesday’s follow-up may have trouble matching it.
The December 10, 2015 TV movie debut scored a big 13 million total viewers — and that’s not even counting delayed viewing. It was the most-watched film on any broadcast network in more than four years, and gave NBC its best total in the time period since the “ER” finale six years earlier. (That doesn’t include sports and live musicals.)
“Coat of Many Colors” added 2.9 million viewers over the next week, and set a record for three-day viewing.
Wednesday’s follow-up, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” isn’t likely to tie or beat those numbers for many reasons, including that TV follow-ups rarely do as well as the originals. “Circle of Love” is battling history. But worse than that, it’s battling “Empire.”
Last year, “Coat” faced off against modest competition, including the “Bones” season finale on Fox, some CBS sitcoms, and “Toy Story” on ABC.
This year, its sequel faces Fox’s hip-hop hit about the Lyons family dynasty. Can the Lyons devour Dollywood? We’re about to find out.
The “Coat” sequel does have one advantage: Its lead-in is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which earned 8.1 million viewers last year. The first “Coat” had “Michael Buble’s Christmas in Hollywood” as a lead-in. Buble earned a respectable but smaller 7.3 million viewers.
“Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” airs Wednesday at 9/8c on NBC.