The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special, which aired Sunday, December 3, on CBS, drew over 15 million viewers in an era of dwindling ratings acoss the board.
According to Variety:
Airing from 8-10 p.m., the special drew a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 15.2 million viewers. It built on its lead in from “60 Minutes” (1.2, 11.3 million) in both measures. That also puts it currently within a million viewers of “Sunday Night Football” (5.2, 16.2 million) though due to the nature of live sports, the final numbers for Sunday’s game will be released later today.
The show, which featured appearances by original cast members Burnett, 84; Vicki Lawrence, 68; and Lyle Waggoner, 82. Tim Conway, 84, was too ill to attend the taping, but issued a statement joking that the show would honor a genius — the people who surrounded "me."
Harvey Korman (b. 1927) died in 2008.
The show had been edited to remove Kevin Spacey, 58, who is embroiled in a career-ending sex-abuse scandal, and also included a last-minute tribute to the late Jim Nabors (1930-2017).
Other notables who appeared on the special who had appeared on the original series with Burnett included an ageless Bernadette Peters, 69; Steve Martin, 72; and Steve Lawrence, 82.
Rounding things out, a slew of contemporary stars shared the stage with Burnett to sing her praises and to help usher in numerous clips from the classic show, among them Jim Carrey, 55; Amy Poehler, 46; Tracee Ellis Ross, 45; Martin Short, 67; Kristin Chenweth, 49; Maya Rudolph, 45; Kaley Cuoco, 31; Beth Behrs, 31; Jay Leno, 67; and many more.
Burnett, who shot a pilot this year that was — incredibly — not picked up (thanks to the reboot of Roseanne on ABC), will next be seen in 2018 on Netflix in A Little Help with Carol Burnett, featuring her interacting with children.