Rudolph with his nose so bright guided CBS to a winning Tuesday night as the primetime presentation of the animated holiday classic pulled in approximately 14.3 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The 1964 Rankin and Bass stop-motion TV special proved it’s still popular as ever, scoring a 14 share with adults 18-49 and helping CBS tie with NBC in the demographic for the evening.
With all its hand-made charm, Rudolph was the highest-rated program of the night on broadcast television. Holiday specials in general have been ratings saviors for strike-stricken braodcast networks. DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek The Halls debuted last Wednesday, netting approximately 21 million viewers for ABC, which also got a boost from the 1966 animated favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas on the same night. The Chuck Jones cartoon captured an average of 18.7 million viewers.
Many animated Christmas specials have come along since Rudolph and The Grinch first aired more than forty years ago, but few have managed to become perrenial favorites. Shrek The Halls may end up the season’s highest-rated entry, but time will tell if it earns a spot in the very exclusive pantheon of go-to holiday programs.