You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dunham’s ‘Christmas’ sleighs ratings

Comedy Central stuns with 6.6 million viewers

How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history?

Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough to beat the cabler’s previous best of 6.2 million viewers harvested from a “South Park” seg in the show’s heyday in 1998.

The Dunham spesh beat by 3 million viewers the top-rated episode of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” which drew 3.6 million viewers Oct. 29 when Barack Obama guested. “The Colbert Report” also hit its highest mark that night with 2.4 million viewers.

Sunday’s puppet spec drew 3.7 million viewers in the 18-49 demo and more than doubled the audience of its lead-in, a previous Dunham special, “Spark of Insanity.”

Dunham’s outing was strong enough to rank as basic cable’s top-rated entertainment program for the week in total viewers and key demos.

Comedy Central execs seemed to be scratching their heads about the turnout as much as everyone else. For once, execs weren’t spinning in saying that the perf exceeded all expectations.

“We were hoping for big numbers, but this is more than we imagined,” said a Comedy Central spokesman.

More TV

  • Disney-ABC TV Chief on Weinstein's Victims,

    Disney-ABC TV Chief Ben Sherwood on Weinstein's Victims, Shonda Rhimes' Exit

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

  • Bill OReilly Roger Ailes Sexual Harrassment

    Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes Still Loom Over Fox's Business (Analysis)

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Reveals the Queens Competing in 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Season 3

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

  • Donald Trump

    SAG-AFTRA Supports 'Unencumbered Press' After Trump's License Revocation Threat

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

  • Brent Briscoe Dead: 'Twin Peaks' and

    Brent Briscoe, 'Twin Peaks' and 'Parks and Recreation' Actor, Dies at 56

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

  • 'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at

    'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at CBS From Peter Lenkov With Production Commitment

    How did a Christmas special starring a little-known comedian and a bunch of cranky puppets manage to become the highest-rated telecast in Comedy Central’s history? Nobody at the cabler saw it coming, but Sunday’s preem of “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special” racked up 6.6 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was enough […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content