grease, grease live, fox, julianne hough, aaron tveit"Grease" is officially the word today, as Fox revels in the ratings high -- and critical success -- of Sunday's "Grease: Live" broadcast.

The network's first foray into the live musical game was a slam dunk, scoring an impressive 12.2 million overall viewers during its 7-10 p.m. timeslot. That number rose slightly during the final half-hour of the broadcast, which drew 12.81 million sets of eyeballs to the telecast.

And things get even better from there: The broadcast notched a 4.6 share in the coveted 18-49 demo (tying "The Sound of Music Live!"'s impressive total), and boasted Fox's largest overall audience for any series so far this season, snatching the title away from the 11 million viewers who tuned in for "American Idol"'s debut.

Compared to NBC's recent musical offerings -- which started the live TV trend back in 2013 -- "Grease" proved a formidable foe, easily taking down "The Wiz Live!" (which notched 11.5 million overall viewers and a 3.4 share among 18-49-year-olds) and "Peter Pan Live!" (9.21 million viewers, 2.4 share). "The Sound of Music Live!" remains the gold standard in terms of overall audience, with its whopping 18.62 million viewers, though it scored the exact same numbers when it came to both shares of the 18-49 crowd and overall viewership share (4.6/13).

On social media, "Grease: Live" launched 1.397 million tweets (narrowly beating out "The Wiz"'s 1.374 million), with Vanessa Hudgens -- performing after the death of her father -- earning the most mentions of any cast member with 90,756, according to marketing company Amobee Brand Intelligence.

Fox must be encouraged by these results, and no doubt excited to try its hand at a taped musical when it airs its version of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" later this year. If its direction, staging, and production values are as high as those of "Grease: Live," it seems audiences are in for another awesome evening of television.

[via: Variety]

Photo credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX